2019 Domaine Guiberteau, Saumur Rouge, Loire Valley, France.
Guiberteau’s hill of Brézé wines in Saumur are rare gems and highly sought after, especially the intensely mineral driven Chenins, but I love the basic Saumur Rouge here, in particular this 2019 is absolutely awesome with a deep and concentrated palate and classic terroir influences and flavors with blackberry, tangy currant, bell pepper, stony notes along with crushed violets, wild herbs, anise and cedar all play parts in the gripping medium bodied wine. This bottling comes from three parcels within the Saumur zone that were planted between 1955 and 1957 on ancient silt and sandy soils over a limestone bedrock that gives this wine its class, mineral tones and lively acidity, while allowing beautiful ripe fruit to shine through. The Guiberteau Saumur Rouge, 100% Cabernet Franc, was carefully hand sorted and picked in the vineyard and 100% de-stemmed, then saw an indigenous yeast fermentation before a short elevage and bottled quickly after being aged for just 6 months in tank, without any oak. Guiberteau, for his reds tends to raise them in stainless and concrete for between 6 months and a year, though his top wine, the Saumur Rouge Les Arboises, a monopole on Brézé is fermented and macerated in cement then aged for 18 months in most new oak barrels, though that wine is a true unicorn and virtually impossible to find.
The Domaine Guiberteau, discovered and brought to the American market by the late Becky Wasserman, who’s life has been celebrated this last month since her passing, mostly regarding her excellent collection of Burgundy producers, though it shouldn’t go unnoticed that her company was savvy enough to find gems, like Guiberteau, in the Loire. Guiberteau, which has become one of the most sought after domaines in Saumur, with their wines already stringently allocated, and found in some of the best restaurants in France, as well as here, has a very limited production. The rise of this small estate has been meteoric since its founding around 2000, with it becoming all organic by 2003, with Romain Guiberteau, who took over the management of his family’s vineyards back in 1996, running this estate which has top notch holdings, with most in the legendary terroir of Brézé, with hillside plots on chalky soils planted to Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc. Guiberteau, who under the mentoring of Clos Rougeard’s Nady Foucault, made his first wines, and that experience convinced him to use the family grapes to produce a domaine wine and the rest they say is history. This little Saumur offering is a steal in the lineup and while the entry level Cab Franc, it can be cellared for a decade if you have patience and pride varietal purity, which I do. The Guiberteau wines usually take a while to loosen up, but this 2019 is showing great and has plenty of depth to keep your interest for many years to come, it really impressed me with its exceptional purity and it was fabulous with a range of foods.
($32 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive