There isn't really a better producer for Cabernet Franc nor Chenin Blanc. These wines are simply our favorite. The absolute BEST <3
Size: 2 ha (4.94 ac)
Variety: Cabernet Franc
Vine Age: Planted from 1955 to 1957
Terroir: 3 parcels with silt and sand topsoils covering softer limestone bedrock
Viticulture: Organic. Pruning method is Guyau Val de Loire. Grapes are harvested by hand and carefully sorted in the vineyard.
Vinification: 100% de-stemmed, indigenous yeast fermentation. Aged for 6 months in tank.
When one has been at something for a long time, there is no greater gift than to find oneself as dumbstruck as a novice, deeply moved by the discovery of something truly profound. The hill of Brézé in Saumur has been such a discovery for us. On this hill, chenins taste like none other in the Loire. They are so uncompromising, so violently assertive, so brilliantly mineral, it reminds us of the first time we were confronted by the Mosel. The great Curnonsky, a Loire native, considered Brézé to be one of the most important terroirs in the Loire valley. No [expletive] kidding. Romain Guiberteau owns some of the best land in Brézé, and makes dry chenins of punk rock violence, yet of Bach-like logic and profoundness. He is creating quite a stir.
Founded at the beginning of the XXth century by Clément Manguin, Romain’s great grandfather, the domaine was then passed on to Clément’s son in law, Robert Guiberteau, a talented winemaker and one of the founding members of the cave cooperative of Saumur. In 1954, recognizing the great potential of this terroir, Robert purchased several hectares on the hill of Brézé, in particular the Clos des Carmes, considered by legendary gourmet Curnonsky as one of the grand crus of the Loire Valley. When Robert retired in 1976 none of his children wanted to take over and the domaine was farmed out.
In 1996, at the end of a lease cycle, Romain Guiberteau, who was flailing as a law student, decided to take over the management of his family’s vineyards rather than see the leases renewed. The following year, under the mentoring of Clos Rougeard’s Nady Foucault, Romain made 5000 bottles of red wine that he managed to sell easily. The success convinced him to pursue a qualitative approach to winemaking and to gradually take back his grapes from the cooperative.
The domaine is 9.4 hectares (under plantation, there is 12 hectares total), 7 of which are located in the great terroir of Brézé. A little more than half of the surface is planted to Chenin with the remainder planted to Cabernet Franc. Age of vines varies between 4 and 80 years old, with a hefty proportion of old vines. In 2000, Romain converted the vineyards to organic management and in 2003 he began the process towards the AB organic certification, obtaining it in 2007.
In only a few years, Domaine Guiberteau has become one of the most sought after domaines in Saumur, their wines already stringently allocated and found in the best restaurants in France.
There are many who make wines from their head and less that make it from their heart; Romain Guiberteau is both but definitely leads with his heart. The man is intensely driven by passion and it screams from the bottle upon opening. Like myself, the first time you taste one of his Chenin Blanc wines, it will likely send shivers down your spine. Electricity and high-frequency is the game here and you’d better be ready to get your socks blasted off when you pull the cork on one of these puppies. Romain and a group of other producers come from a very special hill named, Brézé. Brézé, an unassuming and quiet hill, is reasserting itself as one of the most relevant terroirs in all the world and the likely reason for this reemergence is because of Guiberteau’s startling (literally) and original wines. A little secret about this estate is that while everyone seems to be talking about his whites, we believe his reds to be some of the crowning jewels of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. He’s got that variety serious dialed in.
Known for its famous castles, breathtaking skyline and some of the most celebrated wines in France, this picturesque city sits in the center of the Loire Valley. Saumur spans a large distance at just under 4,500 hectares and sits to the east of the Coteaux du Layon, an area that has a harder time producing botrytis compared to neighboring appellations. The climatic nature of Saumur combined with the dense and shallow limestone soils has, throughout time, yielded superb sparkling wine. Though, dry styles of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc can exemplify winemaking at its greatest and are quickly rising in popularity to become a favorite amongst those seeking world-class wine. The electric and compacted wine of Guiberteau have exemplified the energy of Brézé. The recent rediscovery of this hill’s potential has stirred up the Chenin Blanc scene and is nearly rewriting the expectation for the heights that Chenin can achieve.
-Ted Vance, The Source