Domaine Guiberteau Saumur Blanc Brézé 2016
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100% Chenin Blanc. This striking wine comes from two small parcels of mature vines (planted in 1933 and 1952) within the legendary Brézéclimat, a terroir that once produced wines that were as equally revered as those of the greatest vineyards in Burgundy and Bordeaux. The modern renaissance of ‘Chenin de Brézé’, as it was known,obviously owes a great deal to the Foucault brothers’ Brézébottling, and more recently to the new generation of growers like Guiberteau.
Brézéis not typical Saumur at all. The vineyards are at a higher elevation than most of the surrounding areas and sit directly on a hill of tuffeaux—a porous, chalky limestone intermixed with clay and sand. Something like 70% of vineyard has less than one metre of topsoil so the vines of any age drill directly into the chalky bedrock. This terroir creates a far more citrus, floral and mineral expression of Chenin. Even in ripe and powerful vintages, the wines remain cool, pure and fresh.
The evolution of this wine has made for fascinating tasting over the years, and there is no doubt this release is the next major leap forward. Guiberteau is now using larger format barrels from different coopers, and has found he prefers the Atelier Centre France’s thick-staved demi-muids for this wine (he’s also engaged Clos Rougeard’s local cooper to supply some barrels). This is a wine to remind us of the potency of this incredible terroir—a place that can simultaneously deliver the texture and savoury reduction of great white Burgundy and the raciness of great German Riesling. It’s still a baby, bristling with dry extract, smoky reductive notes and vinous intensity. The distinction of the Brézéterroir shines through in the wine’s balance of intensity, flesh, salinity and tension. Lovers of the historic Coche-Dury style of white will find this unbelievably impressive and seductive.
“This comes from a selection of parcels on the Brézé hill, and it was a sample drawn from a 400-litre barrel. The aromatics are led by polished citrus fruits, with an oaky overlay coming through as a note of vanillin lactone. An intense palate follows, with very bold and ripe fruits, presented in a direct and polished style. It is firm and structured into the finish, charged with delightful energy. Brilliant potential here, this frostbitten vintage clearly turning out to be one where quality can still be tip-top.”95-97 pointsTheWineDoctor.com