Antoine Foucault established Domaine du Collier in 1999 with his companion Caroline Boireau. Today they farm nearly 7 hectares of vines, produce a mere 1,250 cases of wine, and have surpassed rising star status to join the ranks of top growers in Saumur. Antoine cut his teeth at the famed Clos Rougeard in Saumur-Champigny, working with his father and uncle, Charly and Nady Foucault. Then, at age 26, Antoine set out on his own to create Domaine du Collier. Two-thirds of the estate is planted to Chenin, most of which are old vines and some pushing 100 years of age. The remaining third is planted to Cabernet Franc, namely in the important lieu-dits of La Ripaille and La Charpentrie.
Antoine has remarked that while his background was in Saumur Champigny, the majority of the terroirs he currently farms are particularly suited to white wines with their stony, poor soils. He has had to work harder to understand Cabernet Franc in these terroirs, while the Chenin has flourished and has come to him a bit easier. Different than Clos Rougeard whose reputation was built primarily on age-worthy Cabernet Francs of sometimes Musigny-like elegance, the identity of Domaine du Collier is rooted in the grand whites of Chenin Blanc from the limestone-rich hillsides of Brézé.
Antoine works the vineyards organically, adamantly avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers or weed killers. The soils are worked to send roots into the chalky tuffeau, and grapes are hand harvested with intense sorting. A natural approach is carried into the cellar with a commitment to wild yeast fermentation, extended ageing of 24 to 36 months without racking in a very cold underground cellar, and zero sulfur until bottling.
Antoines desire to truly understand and express his terroirs is evident in the wines, which have garnered the attention and admiration of Cabernet Franc devotees and Chenin cognoscenti with their power, mineral character, and ethereal lift. They are complex and powerful without lacking delicacy and precision. These are wines that often transcend grape variety in their deep expression of the limestone of Brézé. We have only seen the beginning of what Antoined Foucault and his terroirs are capable of!