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2019 Saumur Blanc “L’Échelier”

Thierry Germain
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Thierry’s Saumurs honor the great Chenin Blanc grape. He vinifies them dry and never uses any new oak, so they contain very little artifice from residual sugar or barrel aging. Each wine is a crystal-clear translation of the underlying terroir. Unique compared to the other great Loire Chenins—Savennières, Vouvray, Montlouis, Jasnières—Saumur is noble, elegant, vertical, and imposing. Thierry’s seventy-year-old vines are planted on an ancient limestone plateau with remnants of viticulture dating back more than three hundred years. This downright Burgundian wine shows off the savory spine and weightless concentration imparted by this particular site.

Dixon Brooke

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2019
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Chenin Blanc
Appellation: Saumur
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Thierry Germain
Winemaker: Thierry Germain
Vineyard: 70 years, 1 ha
Soil: Clay, Turonien Supérieur Limestone
Aging: Aged on fine lees in 600L demi-muid for 9 months
Farming: Biodynamic (certified)
Alcohol: 13.5%

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About The Region

Loire

map of Loire

The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?

Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.

Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.

Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.

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Inspiring Thirst

I want you to realize once and for all: Even the winemaker does not know what aging is going to do to a new vintage; Robert Parker does not know; I do not know. We all make educated (hopefully) guesses about what the future will bring, but guesses they are. And one of the pleasures of a wine cellar is the opportunity it provides for you to witness the evolution of your various selections. Living wines have ups and downs just as people do, periods of glory and dog days, too. If wine did not remind me of real life, I would not care about it so much.

Inspiring Thirst, page 171

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