Clos Rougeard Saumur “Brézé” 2010

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Known for their Cabernet Franc, Clos Rougeard is probably the cultiest and most reknowned producer in the Loire Valley. Prices now compare to a good bottle of Bordeaux. They are harder to find than many of the world’s greatest wines, including top Burgundy. To give you a sense of how rare these wines are, at the time I write this, winesearcher shows only 4 stores in the US that carry the basic bottling. This is partially due to the mere 10 hectares of vines the domain farms but it also has to do with the extremely wide devotion in France these wines attract (any self-respecting top French Michelin starred restaurant will voraciously seek these wines out).

And the Cab Francs are majestic. But this review hones in on the domaine’s much more miniscule production of white wine. The Foucaults have only a single hectare of Chenin Blanc. It makes the greatest Chenin Blanc, and one of the greatest wine wines, in the world. It certainly rose above every other Chenin I have tasted, including 30+ year old Huet.

Why? While the wine has the quintessence of the highest quality and purest Chenin I have tasted, what tips the scales is the Burgundian structure of the wine (24 months in barriques, with 20% new oak). Its development into the highly concentrated and powerful mid-palate to the extremely long, succulent but taut finish is a masterpiece of wine architecture. It is the kind of wine that highlights why structure and fruit purity are the two essential ingredients of the world’s greatest wines.

The domain’s greatness follows a pattern I find to be consistent with those who make the world’s greatest wines: continuity. The domain has been in the same family since 1664. The current owners father refused to employ chemical pesticides and fertilizer when that became dominant post-world war 2. As such, these are perhaps the most continuously organically farmed vineyards in France.

Sadly, Charly Foucault, co-owner of Clos Rougeard, died recently in December of last year, but his brother Nady continues to make the wines.

~$150 at Foreign Cinema, SF


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