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A brilliant and sharp Chenin Blanc from a fantastic natural winemaker. The stoney elements of the wine dominate, though hints of green apple and Bosc pears are to be found. This is an exceptional bottling, and a steal at this price for a high quality Chenin. Farming is organic, though not certified, and ferments are all with native yeasts.
Notes from the importer (Selection Massale):
Frantz Saumon established his domaine in Montlouis-sur-Loire in 2002, after a few stints as a forester here (in France) and there (in Canada), and a stage with Christian Chaussard of Domaine le Briseau, an influential voice in the “vin naturel” world who passed away not long ago.
He has always practiced organic/biodynamic agriculture and raises his wines in a variety of fiberglass and stainless steel tanks as well as wood vessels of different sizes. All wines are fermented naturally here, to the extent that there’s not even method Champenoise going on in this cellar -- all of his sparkling wines are pétillant naturel.
Frantz’s winemaking style seems to be about purity, always looking for clean wines and thriving for dryness. He also has a great talent at making pétillant naturels, some of the best ones of the region.
In Montlouis, Frantz works about 5 different Chenin vineyards with a variety of soils. Clos du Chene, which is bottled as a single-vineyard cuvée when the vintage permits, is all tuffeau, a very hard limestone found in the valley, with very little clay topsoil. All other Chenin parcels are either clay over limestone, clay with silex, or clay with broken down limestone (argile a eboulis calcaire.)
The vineyards average between 20 and 50 years old, with Clos du Chene being the exception, consisting of vines that are between 70 to 100 years old.