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2020 Saumur Blanc “L’Échelier”

Thierry Germain
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This walled-in “clos” in the village of Dampierre-sur-Loire on the southern bank of the Loire River may have been Thierry Germain’s most exciting acquisition, strong praise for a domaine whose parcels read like a who’s who of the appellations of Saumur and Saumur-Champigny. They produce a red and a white from this vineyard that both exhibit exquisite balance and tastefulness. This dry Chenin Blanc is etched from the white limestone beneath—crystalline, pure, and chiseled.

Dixon Brooke

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2020
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

A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!

Inspiring Thirst, page 117

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