Clos Rougeard, Saumur Blanc ‘Breze’

(75cl)

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SKU: ROUG7

About the wine

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Description

Hailed by France’s most celebrated 20th century gastronomic writer, ‘Curnonsky’ (Maurice Edmond Sailland), ‘Brézé’ rivals the great Chardonnay vineyards of Burgundy! This mythological white wine is sourced from an immaculate 1 hectare vineyard purchased in 1993, which comes from the village and hill of the same name, made from 100% Chenin Blanc in miniscule quantities of 100+ year old vines on the famed hill of Brézé. The vineyards here were replanted using massal selections, ploughed and manually harvested. Yields are always kept very low to ensure that the wines have sufficient concentration to withstand and benefit from prolonged barrel ageing. The Saumur Blanc ‘Brézé’ spends 24 months in barriques with 20% new oak. This wine is simply in a class of its own, a wine of rare dimension. * Less well known is that there are also some Chenin Blanc vines in ‘Les Poyeux’ and it is these vines that have produced the very occasional and very rare Coteaux de Saumur sweet white - recalled by a privileged few to remain amongst the greatest wines they have ever tasted (sadly we’ve never been able to access this cuvée).

About the producer

Nady Foucault is the leading producer in the Loire, along with the late Didier Dagueneau. Taking over his father’s domaine back in 1969, he became the 8th generation of his family to run this extraordinary small estate. Very sadly, Nady’s brother Charly passed away in December 2015 and where there were rumours of the family selling the 11 hectare estate, the sale has now been confirmed to the Bouygues brothers, current owners of Château Montrose in Bordeaux; Nady now having parted post a transitional handover period to ensure consistency. As far as viticulture and winemaking are concerned, everything seems so simple here: good grapes, good oak barrels, long élevage in their tuffeau cellars – nothing different to many other producers then! However, the results are always magnificent, class with a capital “C”, not flashy or exuberant but simply great wines. Unfortunately, too many people know
and the demand largely outstrips the small production from this small jewel of an estate.

The domaine, located in Chacé, comprises a little more than 10 hectares in total, with 9.5ha of Cabernet Franc and 1ha of Chenin Blanc. Nady is rightly considered a master of both. The white wine is called ‘Brézé’ after the village where Clos Rougeard’s Chenin vines are situated. There are three cuvées of red Cabernet Franc: firstly, the domaine wine Le Clos (an assemblage of several parcels), with vines averaging 25 years of age. ‘Les Poyeux’ is a 3ha plot of 40-50 year old vines with soils varying from argile-silex to argile-calcaire. ‘Le Bourg’ has 80 year old vines on argile-calcaire soils (located just behind the house), consisting of 1ha in two parcels. Following biodynamic principles, they perform a green harvest and achieve very-low yields, sometimes as low as 25hl/ha in their ‘Le Bourg’ vineyard. The grapes are harvested by hand, sorted and entirely destemmed.

Le Clos and ‘Les Poyeux’ typically spend 24 months in barriques (used oak for Le Clos, 50% new oak for Les Poyeux), as does ‘Le Bourg’ (100% new oak). ‘Le Bourg’ is a tighter, more structured wine, with higher acidity and tighter tannins and needs more time to unfurl fully. The Saumur Blanc ‘Brézé’ spends 24 months in barriques with 20% new oak. As for their overall modus operandi: it is all very traditional from vine to bottle. Vines are maintained by selection massale, natural yeasts, no chaptalization, no fining, no filtration and no bâtonnage (for red and occasionally for the white). With age, the wines offer an almost Burgundian texture and aromatic profile. It is a treat worth waiting for. A major characteristic of the wines is the sheer purity of the fruit, with a wonderfully seamless silky edge to the Cabernet Franc – a natural elegance that is the antithesis of forcefulness. The underlying structure is magnificently refined. The Chenin too is very fine with a riveting minerality and superb intensity.



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