FRANCE’S LOIRE VALLEY // DOMAINE GUIBERTEAU
17 Feb 2022
Que Sera, Loire (luh-waa)
The cool climate region of the Loire Valley is situated along the river Loire from the Muscadet region near the city of Nantes on the Atlantic coast (West) to the region of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in the Central North-East. This region has been producing wine commercially since the Romans occupied (then) Gaul in the 1st Century and toward the High Middle Ages, the wines produced here were considered the most esteemed in England and France, even more prized than those from Bordeaux.
Being a region that spans over 950km long, there are many sub regions each with its own characteristic grapes, appellations and styles. Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne) in the ‘Lower Loire’ produces crisp whites en masse, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc make up the famed varieties in Middle Loire, and Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir the Upper. Loire wines tend to exhibit a characteristic fruitiness with fresh, crisp flavours.
DOMAINE GUIBERTEAU, SAUMUR.
Domaine Guiberteau’s vines are located in Middle Loire, specifically the historic town of Saumur. Here, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc reign supreme, and the good producers have cemented some plots as (arguably) some of the best in the world. Romain Guiberteau, the man at the helm of both vines and cellar of this domaine, is a 3rd generation who gave up a promising career outside the realm of wine to return to his family’s vineyards. Having been mentored by local legend Nady Foucault of Clos Rougeard and Thierry Germain of Domaine des Roches Neuves, the Domaines wines have increased in both quality and rarity within just a few years.
To date the Domaine is 9.4 hectares in total with 7 hectares of vines coming from one of the Loire’s great appellations - Brézé. Brézé is a unique site due to its relatively high elevation and uniquely nuanced geological profile. The significant presence of tuffeau, (a porous, chalky limestone also used in the construction of much of the Loire’s Renaissance architecture) results in finely mineral Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
We’re fortunate to be able to offer 2 of Romains wines, ‘Saumur Blanc’ from vines planted between 1935-2012 shows Chenin Blanc’s searing drive, minerality and tension. The ‘entry level’ is great value, and if you like Chenin, this is a Loire benchmark.
‘Saumur Rouge’ being Cabernet Franc is also worth a look, vibrant fruit meets a savoury core. It is no exaggeration to say that Romain Guiberteau is making among France’s greatest wines - don’t miss them.