Clos Rougeard, Saumur, Breze 2013
Rare Wine Company Rougeard’s mythic white is made from Chenin Blanc grown in the hallowed Saumur terroir of Brézé, a unique slope of sandy clay and limestone.
Curnonsky—France’s most celebrated 20th century gastronomic writer—considered Brézé the rival of the great Chardonnay vineyards of Burgundy. Here, the Foucault brothers tended their 60+year-old Chenin Blanc vines organically, just as their ancestors had all of the domaine’s vines, long before it became trendy to do so. And they always allowed the Brézé cuvée’s style to be determined by the vintage, which for the versatile Chenin Blanc in the central Loire could be Sec, Demi-Sec and even Moelleux, depending on the growing season. Aged in 20% new barrels, and rarely finishing malolactic fermentation, Clos Rougeard Brézé is a uniquely complex and long-lived expression of its great terroir. But the reverence accorded Clos Rougeard has created great scarcity for all the wines. Little was ever made, and most of it stayed in France, doled out to Michelin-starred restaurants and loyal private clients.
Today, with Clos Rougeard fever at its zenith, and no new post-2016 vintages bearing the Foucault touch, the wines are more difficult to find than ever.