About the wine
The leading cuvée from a 1 hectare plot of mostly 75 to 95 year-old Cabernet Franc vines planted on soils comprised of a thin layer of clay over limestone sub-soil. These are the vines that lie directly behind the courtyard of the original estate and its anonymous gateway to the village of Chacé. Here very-low yields are achieved, sometimes as low as 25hl/ha. The wine goes through malolactic fermentation in air-dried new barrels, in which it undergoes 18-24 months' élevage. The wine is unfiltered, and spends a further year in bottle before release. 'Le Bourg’ is a tighter, racy more structured wine, with higher acidity and tighter tannins and needs more time to unfurl fully. Just 4,000 bottles are produced in a good year.
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.