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2020 Saumur Champigny “Clos de l’Échelier”

Thierry Germain
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A thoroughbred of a Cabernet, the Échelier—named after a walled-in clos of terraces that is “ladder”-like—is Burgundian in style. Fine, with bright acid, sleek silkiness, and great length, it is the most elegant of all of Thierry’s red wines. Drink it and age it as you would a fine Pinot Noir from La Bourgogne.

Dixon Brooke

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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: 40 years, 2.5 ha
Soil: Clay, Turonien Supérieur Limestone
Aging: Aged in 1200L foudre and 600L demi-muid for 12 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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Old cob-webbed wine bottles

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.

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