Size & Type
100% Chenin Blanc. Guiberteau’s 1.4-hectare Clos de Guichaux is a historically renowned vineyard located in Bizay terroir in the small village of Épieds, very near Brézé. It is a monopole for Guiberteau. The site is the classic clay/limestone of the region but has only 30cm of topsoil before the roots must plunge directly into the pure, chalky bedrock. It was replanted in the early 2000s with massale cuttings taken from the family’s best old vines in Brézé. It’s a site that is quickly cementing its place as one of Saumur’s finest white vineyards—thanks to wines like this.
2019 was yet another frost-affected year of low yields for Guiberteau. But what nature has taken with one hand, she has given with the other. Otherwise a dry and sunny year, the vintage has provided perfectly ripe and strikingly fresh whites with all the trademark savoury, mineral drive one expects from this domaine. The 2019 was fermented and raised for 12 months on lees in two- to four-year-old barrels (600-litre, light-toast Atelier Centre France and François Frères that had previously housed the Brézé cuvée), followed by six months in tank.
As you would expect, this is a step up from the wines above, particularly in its aromatic complexity. The nose is striking, an almost Riesling-esque brew of feijoa, hints of pineapple and crushed rock. The palate is a study in silk and texture, tapering to an explosive, driven finish licked by salty minerals and quinine freshness. A masterful Guichaux.
Riding the crest of this new wave, Romain Guiberteau has emerged as one of Saumur’s brightest talents. He is the third generation at this Estate and oversees the now organic viticulture as well as all the winemaking responsibilities.
Much like Stéphane Moreau in Chablis, Guiberteau gave up a promising career outside the realm of wine to return to his family’s vineyards (where he was fortunate to inherit an assortment of top-notch, old-vine holdings including some choice parcels in Saumur’s de facto grand cru, Brézé). To date the Domaine is 9.4 hectares in total with 7 hectares in Brézé!
Guiberteau was mentored by local legend Nady Foucault of Clos Rougeard fame, and has been equally inspired by Thierry Germain of Domaine des Roches Neuves. He is also a very good friend of Benjamin Dagueneau, another producer that has influenced his work. The inspiration provided by these great growers, plus the sheer quality of Guiberteau’s brilliant sites, is reflected in his penetrating, intense whites and reds. The whites are some of the most refined and snowflake-pure renditions of Chenin Blanc that we have tasted while the reds take Cab Franc to a rare level of elegance and texture. In short, a profound line up from one of the most exciting of the Loire’s young turks. Surely, at last, a new age of Saumur is upon us!
While the Rougeard influence is most clearly felt in Romain’s richly-fruited single-site red, Les Motelles and the glowing rigour of the Brézé and Clos des Carmes whites, we also expect allot of buzz to surround the two terrific value, ‘entry-point’ Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc cuvees. The former, which comes from 50-80 year old vines and is naturally fermented and raised in concrete, is a pure and seductive explosion of high-toned florals and crunchy, red berry and earthy aromas and flavours, all moderated by pollen-textured tannins. The Domaine Blanc hails from 2ha of Chenin grown on limestone-rich soils within Brézé itself and offers drinkers as lucid and fresh a white Loire as anyone could hope; pithy grapefruit and blossom aromas and flavours harmonise with more chalky notes and a thrillingly textured yet taut palate.
100% Chenin Blanc. Guiberteau’s 1.4-hectare Clos de Guichaux vineyard is a monopole. The soil is the classic clay/limestone of the region but with only 30cm of topsoil before the roots must plunge directly into the pure, chalky bedrock. Clos de Guichaux is a historically renowned vineyard in Bizay, very near Brézé, and was replanted in the early 2000s with massale cuttings taken from the family’s best old vines in Brézé. It’s a site that is quickly cementing its place as one of Saumur’s finest white vineyards, thanks to wines like this.
The 2017 was fermented and raised for twelve months on lees in two-to-four-year-old barrels (600L light-toast Atelier Centre France and François Frères), followed by six months in tank. As you would expect, this is a big step up from the wines above, with more layers, density and complexity. Expect the same crystalline purity and chalky raciness of the other whites, but also some fresh nectarine and green pear notes, and more flesh and seduction. There’s the faintest hint of something creamy and honeyed on the long, perfumed, powdery close that hints at what bottle age will deliver. Just stunning wine that would stand up to many a Grand Cru white Burgundy (and will likely live longer)!
Just like Riesling, Chenin is capable of producing an incredibly diverse range of wines from fresh dry (sec), to botrytised sweet wines of insane complexity.
Similar to German Riesling’s Trocken, Kabinett, Spätlese, Auslese et al., Chenin from the Loire has a classification system related to sugar levels.
The dry wines tend to be mid-weight building a lovely level of opulence as they ages.
Flavours: Watch for the perfume, pear, citus spice, hints of apricot & jasmine in the sec, these wines build complexity as they age. The sweet wines add an array of aromas and flavours not dissimilar to the great Sauternes, ginger, honey, marmalade, patisserie notes, grilled nuts marzipan and beyond. Again as they age complexity builds.
Balance: Huet’s wines have impeccable balance across each of the styles, marrying natural acid and delicious flavours.
Mouthfeel & Texture: When very young they have a lovely texture which becomes luscious and simply put caresses your tongue as they age. As the levels of residual sugar increases the mouthfeel builds yet across the styles remains light and clean.
It’s just so easy to hoover!
When your tasting, think about the 5 elements below, they’ll make it simple and ensure you cover off the important aspects of good wine. We’ll be exploring these in detail in a series of posts for members only soon!
🌡Temp: 14°C. We tend to drink whites an edge to cold. Don’t drink them straight out of the fridge! Let them warm up a little. They’ll become much more expressive, generous, and, lucious to drink.
🍷Decanting: You might be surprised, but, wines of this quality and youth will benefit from being thrown in a decanter. The air will help them open up. If you’re using a Coravin or other wine preserver, pour enough into each glass to be able to try them over the course of several hours. These young whites will open up and be more expressive with a bit of time in the glass.
⏳Time: I love trying good wines stand alone, with food, and, often the next day. It gives them the chance to shine and ensures you don’t miss a good wine through impatience or fail to bring out it’s best by not marrying them to food.
🕯Cellaring: Like all good Chennins, Huet’s can be incredibly long-lived. In a nutshell, give them 5-10 years and they’ll start to show their potential. Don’t be afraid to go 20 years.
🧀🦐🐟🐓🐖Food Match: The exact match does vary a little according to the wine. The dry and demi-sec wines marry well with white meats, veal, crustaceans, and, fish. The sweeter they become the more suited they are to cheese wine and at the sweeter levels desserts!
The Best 2 Options for Preserving your Wine:
The Loire Valley is scattered over 175,000 acres stretching from the Atlantic Ocean across to central France. Cover such a large region it is natural that it’s been broken down into sub-regions that specialise in the growing of specific varieties. Chenin Blanc is largely grown in the middle-Loire in Anjou-Saumur and Touraine within which Vouvray resides. Domaine Giberteau is in Samur.
The Loire Valley Wine Group produced a quirky little primer for the regions, varieties and styles produced across the Loire Valley.
Where in the world does the magic happen?
Domaine Guiberteau-Romain, Impasse du Cabernet, Saint-Just-sur-Dive, France