These vineyards on the banks of the Layon were developed by Dutch traders from 1579. Due to their high degree of alcohol (16-17% vol.) the wines from this region travelled better than other wines. What’s more, they suited the taste of the Dutch drinkers and it was only their high quality (and corresponding price) that allowed them to bear the export tax levied by Brittany. Harvesting with a successive sorting of botrytized grapes has been documented here since the 18th century. The Coteaux du Layon AOC
covers 27 communes in the Maine-et-Loire lying along the Layon, a small tributary of the Loire. The following communes are specifically distinguished within the appellation: Beaulieu-sur-Layon, Faye-d'Anjou, Rablay-sur-Layon, Rochefort-sur-Loire, Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné and Saint-Lambert-du-Lattay.
The AOC of the Coteaux du Layon wines was granted by a decree of 18 February 1950.
The vineyards cover about 1,400 hectares with an annual production of around 40,000 hectoliters. The soil consists of the typical terraces of schist and sandstone from the Armorican bedrock, brown, shallow soils (with the bedrock breaking through) of the “Anjou Nor” area. The climate is temperate oceanic and particularly dry. The demarcated areas include well-exposed, well-ventilated hillsides that bring on early vegetative growth (Mediterranean vegetation grows in this microclimate) and harvesting of overripe grapes each year.
The Coteaux du Layon appellation produces sweet and semi-sweet wines, with an endless array of aromas, from the Chenin grape variety. Harvesting has to be carried out by hand with successive sorting of overripe grapes showing a high concentration, whether or not due to noble rot. The wines are best decanted and served chilled at 8°C in order to appreciate their evolution. Cellar-ageing potential is from 5 years to several decades, or even a century in great vintages. Château Pierre-Bise, Domaine des Sablonnettes and Château de la Roulerie produce some of the best examples.