Log in for prices and ordering

Domaine Guiberteau - White Heat—New Releases (and more) from the “Rougeard for a New Generation” [Jon Bonné]

Domaine Guiberteau - White Heat—New Releases (and more) from the “Rougeard for a New Generation” [Jon Bonné]

View the full available range from Guiberteau here.

There is no perfect domaine... but when Romain gets it right he can, in fact, hit the bull’s-eye. The white wines are pure, limpid, minerally and bracing, softening with time, but always showing a delicate Chenin ripeness, not the questionable sour-fruit some domaines offer, and not the wood-tarted version available at some addresses. The reds are cool, fresh and classically Saumur in all they possess...” Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com

“Amidst a renewed interest in chenin blanc, Guiberteau has become a cult star (complete with hashtag) for concentrated, tightly wound, dry chenins “of punk rock violence,” as his [US] importer describes them.” Megan Krigbaum, PunchDrink.com

“Romain Guiberteau’s hedonistic winemaking style is increasingly earning him a reputation as Rougeard for a new generation.” Jon Bonné, PunchDrink.com

“Romain Guiberteau’s white wines made him famous. When they hit the mainstream, they blew everyone’s minds with their power, energy, and sharpness. These wines are so potent and high energy as to require some time in bottle, so don’t open too early. The standout white is les Clos des Carmes. The reds are great, too. Some contend Romain Guiberteau is in fact a better red-wine maker, despite his white-wine fame.” Rajat Parr, The Sommelier’s Atlas of Taste

Despite mourning the loss of our luggage, there were worse places to be stranded than in Saumur. Unable to progress on our journey, we called on the help of Google Maps and Guiberteau’s right-hand man and self-proclaimed tractoriste, Brendan Stater-West, to help us locate a good portion of this grower’s vineyards. A dropped pin or three later and we were on the way to see the vineyards central to this grower’s rise to stardom.

It is perhaps fitting that the Brézé climat—a terroir identified in the Middle Ages and one that historically produced wines as revered as those from the greatest vineyards in France—lies at the heart of the Saumur appellation. The vineyards sit at a higher elevation than most of the surrounding area on a series of gentle slopes and expositions that give rise to a variety of named lieu-dit vineyards, at least nine of which were designated as clos in times pasts. Although it is often called a hill, walking through the vines will not help your cardio regime. Instead, Brézé keeps all its secrets below the surface.

Something like 70% of the vineyard has less than one metre of topsoil, so the vines of any age must establish roots in the chalky bedrock known as tuffeau—a porous, chalky limestone intermixed with clay and sand. This terroir creates a far more citrus, floral and mineral expression of Chenin. Some tasters believe the wines from Brézé share more in common with Burgundy and Champagne, and sometimes, though not always, they have a point. Regardless, thanks to this limestone reactor, the best wines remain cool, pure and fresh even in ripe and powerful vintages. So Brézé is not typical Saumur at all.

The modern renaissance of ‘Chenin de Brézé’, as it was known, owes a great deal to Clos Rougeard’s famed Brézé bottling and, more recently, to the new generation of growers like Romain Guiberteau, Antoine Foucault and Arnaud Lambert. Guiberteau’s family have farmed here for over a century. Still, it is under the current generation that the domaine has fully harnessed the radiance, precision, and tuning fork intensity of this powerful limestone terroir. Guiberteau’s holdings in Brézé include the prized Clos de Carmes, though you could argue that his most important parcels are those planted in 1933 and 1952 that bask on the south-facing crest of the hill with panoramas over the entire vineyard. It was surely the wines from these vines that Becky Wasserman had in mind when she wrote that Guiberteau “makes dry chenins of punk rock violence, yet of Bach-like logic and profoundness.”

 A five-minute drive from Brézé and you are in the one-horse town of Épieds. The climat here is called Bizay, home to Guiberteau’s Clos de Guichaux and Les Chapaudaises vineyards. By this point, the gentle undulations of Brézé have levelled out, creating an even and more humid terroir with more silt and sand joining the soil profile. The 1.4 hectares of the renowned Clos de Guichaux is a Guiberteau monopole. It was replanted in the early 2000s with massale cuttings taken from the family’s best old vines in Brézé and has only 30cm of topsoil before the roots plunge directly into the pure, chalky bedrock. It’s a site that traditionally gives a more linear, spicier style of Saumur, though one with plenty of inner glow.

Heading west and you are almost immediately in Les Chapaudaises. Planted to Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, this site has been in the family for decades, though it was only relatively recently that Guiberteau took it back for the domaine. He felt he could make a more exciting and brighter red from this site’s old vines than he was achieving from the clay-rich Les Motelles vineyard in Montreuil-Bellay. Even just a few metres away from the Clos de Guichaux, the limestone has now dipped up to a metre below the surface. Despite the deeper soils, Guiberteau calls Les Chapaudaises a “terroir for freshness”; the soils are very acidic and the deep roots benefit from the strong water retention of the underlying limestone.

The day before our vineyard wanderings, we tasted the below wines with Brendan Stater-West. It was another rousing tasting at this address. Is there any other? In general, the racy, high-voltage 2021 wines contrast with the deep intensity and hewn textures of 2020. 2019 was yet another frost-affected year of low yields for Guiberteau, providing perfectly ripe and strikingly fresh wine with all the trademark savoury, mineral drive one expects from this domaine. What connects all the wines is the spine of limestone freshness and lacy minerality so unique to this part of France. The only question is when to drink them and with whom to share them, but we will leave that up to you.

Before we go, a bit of housekeeping. Alongside the current releases, we have shipped a few boxes of the domaine’s top red and white (Brézé Blanc and Arboises Rouge) from the previous vintage. Drawing on Rajat Parr’s observation above, we could not agree more that Guiberteau’s red and white wines benefit greatly from some time in the bottle, so don’t hesitate. We have also managed to conjure a rare selection of back vintage magnums, all very limited, and the same logic applies! Finally, you may notice that we do not yet offer the Les Moulins Blanc and Domaine Saumur Rouge from 2021. Guiberteau is releasing these wines following extended élevage and we will ship them in due course.

The Wines

Other Recent Releases

  • Mayacamas & Philip Togni
    Mayacamas & Philip Togni
    Where to start with Mayacamas Vineyards? How about with the words of Eric Asimov: “A le...
    Where to start with Mayacamas Vineyards? How about with the words of Eric Asimov: “A legendary purveyor of classically structured, ageworthy Napa V...

    Read more

  • Bondar
    Bondar
    Who says nice guys finish last? It’s been a great twelve months for Andre Bondar and Se...
    Who says nice guys finish last? It’s been a great twelve months for Andre Bondar and Selina Kelley. Not only was Bondar crowned the Dux of the 2023...

    Read more

  • Meadowbank
    Meadowbank
    From the moment Peter Dredge joined forces with the Ellis family, Meadowbank has not mi...
    From the moment Peter Dredge joined forces with the Ellis family, Meadowbank has not missed a beat. Vintage 2023 continues this partnership’s stell...

    Read more

  • Robert Weil
    Robert Weil
    If you know where to look, 2022 is manna from heaven for Riesling lovers. We had the pl...
    If you know where to look, 2022 is manna from heaven for Riesling lovers. We had the pleasure of Robert Weil’s Nicolas Langer’s company in the trad...

    Read more

  • Place of Changing Winds
    Place of Changing Winds
    Today, we offer the Place of Changing Winds (POCW) Grower Series wines, mainly from the...
    Today, we offer the Place of Changing Winds (POCW) Grower Series wines, mainly from the cooler, later-ripening 2022 season. These wines are the pro...

    Read more

  • Toolangi
    Toolangi
    What is it they say—behind every great winemaker, there is a great viticulturist? The r...
    What is it they say—behind every great winemaker, there is a great viticulturist? The recent return of seasoned viticulturist John Evans marks anot...

    Read more

  • Bannockburn
    Bannockburn
    Between celebrated slam dunks and fadeaways, basketball legend Michael Jordan once said...
    Between celebrated slam dunks and fadeaways, basketball legend Michael Jordan once said: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win cham...

    Read more

  • Spinifex
    Spinifex
    There’s not much Pete Schell turns his hand to that doesn’t turn to gold, and his rosé,...
    There’s not much Pete Schell turns his hand to that doesn’t turn to gold, and his rosé, considered a benchmark by many and a brilliant wine by all,...

    Read more

  • Domaine Alain Graillot
    Domaine Alain Graillot
    Those words from the late Josh Raynolds serve as a fitting introduction for those unfam...
    Those words from the late Josh Raynolds serve as a fitting introduction for those unfamiliar with this great estate. It is the highest-rated domain...

    Read more

View All Offers