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2020 Saumur-Champigny “Franc de Pied”

Thierry Germain
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Influenced not only by the father of biodynamics, Rudolf Steiner, but also by Steiner’s predecessor Goethe, Thierry Germain embodies the intellectual quest for excellence that animates a good number of today’s most exciting producers. You might say, “It’s just wine,” but I dare you to taste this bottling with that mindset and not change your tune. This Saumur Champigny is electric and alive, from the first scent of roses on the nose to the juxtaposition of textured tannic grip and sheer weightlessness on the palate. It’s as complex as the mind that made it.

Emily Spillmann

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Technical Information
Wine Type: red
Vintage: 2020
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Saumur Champigny
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Thierry Germain
Winemaker: Thierry Germain
Vineyard: 1.2 ha, 12 years
Soil: Sand, limestone
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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Kermit inspecting wine barrels

For the wines that I buy I insist that the winemaker leave them whole, intact. I go into the cellars now and select specific barrels or cuvées, and I request that they be bottled without stripping them with filters or other devices. This means that many of our wines will arrive with a smudge of sediment and will throw a more important deposit as time goes by, It also means the wine will taste better.

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