Clos Rougeard, Saumur-Champigny: There's Nothing That Compares. We Offer the 2004's

Article from 2008 -

This estate has been in the family for several generations. Basically, the Foucault brothers (Nadi and Charlie) tend exceptional vineyards, harvest at small yields, vinify in barrel, let the wines bubble for a couple of years in a glacially cold cellar and bottle without filtration. And what you get is the some of the top red wines of the Loire Valley and in the very top of France as a whole. Charles Joguet, the great winemaker of Chinon, once said: “there are two suns. One shines outside for everybody. The second shines in the Foucaults’ cellar.”

Just what makes these wines so exceptional? It's hard to describe, but even first growth Bordeaux seems somehow...less interesting. And the Chenins here, both dry and sweet, turn into something truly extraordinary with time. (The single greatest wine I've ever tasted is the 1921 Coteaux de Saumur) I don't mean to discount the work of The Bretons, the Baudrys, Noel Pinguet and the many other great winemakers of the Loire, but the Clos Rougeard wines exist in a class of their own.

A descent into the dark, mythic, moldy cellar of Clos Rougeard is one of the great experiences of the wine world. Joe Dressner and I, on our first visit, were somewhat apprehensive, having heard that Nadi refused to see most Americans. For some reason, the visit seemed to be going well, until Charles Joguet stormed in with a bottle of 1989 Clos Roche Blanche Cot. (Yes, the 2006 is available at CSW) No business was done after that... It's many years later and we've tasted the 2004s three times, most recently from bottle in February of 2008. The wines are very good, and while they are not exactly inexpensive, you certainly get what you pay for. (Normal discounts apply.) Remember that the weather in the western Loire in 2004 was quite good, with most of the late season rain falling from Chinon to the east.

-David Lillie

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