Slate. It dominates the landscape of Anjou, particularly around Trelazé where the last working slate mine in France has been struggling to keep afloat in recent years. You might think this is a topic far removed from the business of wine but the slate, dating back millions and millions of years, has a huge influence on the wines of the region. As you drive around Angers, the layer of top soil is shallow and as you pass the mine, the hillsides surrounding it are dominated by layers of schist and slate of all colours, purples, silver, grey, brown and pink. Local houses are built from it, beautiful walls are created from it, local restaurants serve their food on it.
So, I’m sad to learn that it will finally close its doors. The last working slate mine in France has called it a day and 153 local people are to lose their jobs.
When we present the wines of the Loire valley to our guests, we always speak of the slate so I feel sad that we can no longer boast that Angers has the last working slate mine in France.
The photo was taken yesterday on the way to the annual Salon des Vins de Loire in Angers. This roundabout is just by the mine and each cross represents someone who has lost their job.