VIEW FROM THE CELLAR
By John Gilman
July-August 2022 Number One Hundred
Saumur-Champigny “les Closiers”- Domaine des Closiers
Anatole de la Brosse purchased this estate in 2018 and has Nady Foucault as one of his consultants! Monsieur de la Brosse’s first vintage at Domaine des Closiers was the following year of 2019. Monsieur de la Brosse’s les Closiers bottling is his entry level wine, aged in tank for six to eight months prior to bottling and crafted to be more immediately accessible than his other two red wine cuvées, les Coudraies and les Trezelliêres. The combination of the extremely high quality of the wines here and Nady Foucault’s participation on a consulting basis have quickly given the estate the moniker of the “next Clos Rougeard”. The 2020 les Closiers bottling comes in at an even thirteen percent octane in this warm summer and offers up a beautifully refined nose of red and black cherries, tobacco leaf, chalky soil tones, cigar ash and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, focused and seamlessly balanced, with a good core, fine transparency and grip and a long, moderately tannic and complex finish. This is a lovely bottle that is approachable out of the blocks, but really deserves at least a few years’ worth of bottle age to allow its secondary layers of complexity to emerge. 2022-2045+. 92+.
2020 Saumur-Champigny “les Coudraies”- Domaine des Closiers
The Saumur-Champigny “les Coudraies” is one of the estate’s single vineyard wines, made from a selection of the best parcels in this hillside vineyard. The wine is aged in mostly older casks for one year prior to bottling. The 2020 les Coudraies comes in at fourteen percent octane and offers up a simply gorgeous bouquet of red and black cherries, cigar wrapper, a touch of tree bark, a complex base of soil tones, juniper berry, a touch of cedar and a smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied and very elegant in profile, with a rock-solid core of fruit, firm, buried tannins, excellent focus and grip and a long, complex and very, very promising finish. This is a great bottle of Saumur-Champigny in the making! 2032-2085.
2019 Saumur-Champigny “les Trezellières”- Domaine des Closiers
This is my first taste of Domaine des Closiers top bottling, les Trezellières, which is made from a parcel of old vines and given fully two years aging in barrel, with somewhere between ten and twenty percent of the casks new. The 2019 les Trezellières is beautifully deep and refined aromatically, delivering scents of black cherries, cassis, Cuban cigar wrapper, a very complex base of soil, a touch of Cheval Blanc-like menthol, a gentle dollop of tree bark, cedar and a topnote of cigar smoke. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, elegant and rock solid at the core, with great focus and complex, superb soil undertow, fine-grained tannins and a very long, pure and classy finish. The small percentage of new oak gives this wine more refinement than the les Coudraies bottling, but because it is no more than twenty percent new oak, the wood influence is far more subtle out of the blocks than in Clos Rougeard’s Le Bourg bottling, which is the closest comparison I can think of for this brilliant young Saumur-Champigny. Give this beautiful wine plenty of time in the cellar to properly resolve its tannins and completely blossom! 2031-2085.
2020 Saumur Blanc “Allegory”- Domaine des Closiers
There is very little chenin blanc planted in the vineyards at Domaine des Closiers, as combined with the chardonnay for the wine below, the white grapes comprise less than five percent of the domaine’s vineyard acreage. The 2020 Saumur Blanc “Allegory” has just been released and offers up a beautifully deep and complex nose of sweet quince, apple, chalky soil tones, a hint of honeycomb, beeswax, lanolin and a touch of orange peel in the upper register. On the palate the wine is pure, full and rock solid at the core, with a snappy spine of acidity, laser-like focus, great mineral drive and grip and a long, nascently complex and impeccably balanced finish. This is an absolutely stunning young bottle of Saumur Blanc, but do not even think of opening it for a decade. It is not that it is not absolutely delicious right now, but there is so much waiting below the surface here that infanticide would be insanity when there is so little of this wine produced and its upside potential so profound! 2033-2075.
2020 Cuvée Libere- Domaine des Closiers
The Cuvée Libere from Domaine des Closiers is not labeled as Saumur Blanc, but simply as a vin de table, because it is crafted from chardonnay, rather than chenin blanc! The bouquet of the 2020 Libere is deep and nascently complex, offering up scents of quince, breadfruit, chalky soil tones, white flowers, a touch of lanolin and a topnote of citrus peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, vibrant and very much defined by its underlying Saumur terroir. The wine is rock solid at the core, has a lovely girdle of acidity, excellent focus and balance and a long, youthfully complex and very age-worthy finish. This is still a young wine and deserves at least three or four years’ worth of bottle age, just to allow it to properly blossom completely. It is so beautifully reflective of its underlying terroir that it will be interesting to see how divergent it ends up a decade from now with the Saumur Blanc “Allegory” bottling. At this early stage, I would not be surprised if I cannot tell which one is chardonnay and which one chenin blanc ten years from now! 2023-2040.