Sables Verts

Loire, France

Domaine des Sables Verts is a relatively new project owned and run by a young couple, Caroline Meurée and her husband, Hervé Maligne. We met Caroline from her time at Chateau Lamothe in Bordeaux. Her husband worked as well in St Emilion, and also in Burgundy and at Mas Amiel in the Rousillon, all under the tutelage of Olivier Decelle. Their project was started in 2019, when the couple took over a sprawling estate covering 16.5 HA spread amongst 5 villages with 33 different plots, with an average vine age of 40 years. The crown jewel of the estate are their two single-vineyard wines of Cab Franc from the famed parcels of “Poyeux” and “Chaintres” planted in the early 1950s, and where their neighbors are none other than Clos Rougeard and Thierry Germain!

The estate is comprised mostly of Cabernet Franc (15.5 Ha) and the remainder 1 Ha in Chenin Blanc. The name, Sables Verts, or “green sand”, comes from unique greenish sand that is a component in many of the best vineyards of Saumur-Champigny, and mixes with varying amounts of Clay-Limestone and Limestone-Silica in the topsoil which ultimately sits atop the Mother rock of limestone tuffeaux that underlies much of the region. This green sand is rich in glauconite which gives the Cabernet Franc in this area both its freshness along with a sense of concentration.

The cellars themselves are also dug into the tuffeaux and form a cool, damp home for raising the wines.

In the vineyards, Caroline and Hervé work as naturally as possible. They have had their HVE (Haute Valeur Environnementale) since the outset, but are also working toward full organic certification as well. At harvest, grapes are all harvested by hand, and fermented with natural yeasts. Depending on the cuvée, the wines spend time in tank and/or medium-sized oak tonneaux or foudres. For the entry-level wines, the wines are raised for around 4-5 months for early drinkability. Moving up the ladder, the Rouères Blanc and Poyeux each spend about 12 months in wood, while the Chaintres spends 24 months before bottling. SO2 levels are kept to a minimum as well.

The line up of wines offers up a nice range of Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc in varying styles. The Saumur-Champigny “Glouglou” is just that. Easy drinking, fresh and fun. The straight Saumur Blanc is nicely textured, but also fresh, mineral and inviting. Moving up the ladder, their parcellaire wines take it up a notch in complexity and depth. They are definitely wines to have with food. As with the great wines of Clos Rougeard, the Poyeux offers up a more finesse-driven expression of Cab Franc, while the Chaintres is more muscle and brawn. All in all, Domaine des Sables Verts, is now an exciting player in the ever growing field of talented producers in Saumur-Champigny.