Domaine des Closiers is one of the most exciting estates to emerge from the Loire in recent years. This historic estate in Saumur-Champigny was purchased in 2018 by Anatole de la Brosse, a wine-loving and successful management consultant, who actually started his career studying enology. In typical management consultant form, he initiated his project by harnessing the talent and know-how of two of the greats of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc whom he hired as consultants. The first, Michel Chevré, of Clos L’Ecotard cut his teeth for many years working side-by-side with Thierry Germain helping him to develop his Biodynamic regime. The second needs no introduction. It is no other than Nady Foucault, who along with his late brother Charly, ran the legendary Clos Rougeard estate until it was sold in 2017.
The estate is located in Parnay, one of the principle villages in the heart of Saumur Champigny. Unlike most of the appellation which is largely flat, Parnay is distinguished by its hillside vineyards which give the wines their distinctiveness and power. When de la Brosse purchased the winery, it already had 15 HA of mature plantings with an average age of 35 years. And with their inaugural vintage in 2019, they immediately converted their vineyards to Organic and Biodynamic viticulture.
As with most top Domaines in France, harvest is done meticulously by hand and fermentations occur with indigenous yeasts. Also, the maceration regime includes extended contact with the skins of around 1 month to give the wines depth and structure. Depending on the cuvée, they are either aged in tank, or in mostly used wood.
The range starts with the entry Saumur-Champigny Rouge called “Closiers”. It is aged in tank for 6-8 months before bottling. Unlike a lot of “entry level” Saumur-Champigny, it is not made in a “glouglou” style, but rather something closer to the “Clos” bottling from Clos Rougeard. It is deep, nuanced, and pure, and while drinkable on release, could easily reward 10-15 years of aging. A second cuvée called “Les Coudraies” is selected from several top hillside parcels and aged in wood for 12 months. It displays more evident power and structure, all with the gorgeous and complex aromas that make Cabernet Franc so unique and compelling. The top red from Closiers is from an old-vine parcel called “Les Trezellières” and sees 24 months in wood before bottling. Both the “Coudraies” and “Trezillières” are thrilling wines and built to age.
At this point, the Loire geeks and hyperbolists (not to mention the French Press) are already starting to call Domaine des Closiers the second coming to Clos Rougeard. We’ll leave those proclamations up to others. For now, we are pleased to share the small quantities of these glorious Cabernet Francs with our dedicated and Loire-loving customers.