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100% Chenin Blanc. The modern renaissance of Chenin de Brézé (as it was once known) obviously owes a great deal to the Foucault brothers’ Brézé bottling and, more recently, to the new generation of growers like Guiberteau. This striking wine comes from two small parcels of mature vines (planted in 1933 and 1952) within the fabled Brézé climat, a terroir that once produced wines equally as revered as those of the greatest vineyards of Burgundy and Bordeaux. One-quarter of the fruit is also drawn from the historic Clos de Carmes terroir, introduced below.
Guiberteau now uses larger-format barrels from different coopers. He has found he prefers Atelier Centre France’s thick-staved demi-muids for this wine (he’s also engaged Clos Rougeard’s local cooper to supply some barrels). Another evolution in the élevage is that the Brézé now spends two winters in a barrel, followed by six months in a tank, recognising both the potency and coiled energy gifted by its terroirs.
Year in and year out, this is a wine to remind us of the force of this incredible terroir; which can simultaneously deliver the texture and savoury reduction of great white Burgundy and the raciness of great German Riesling. If the Clos de Guichaux can remind of excellent Chablis, the Brézé style leans towards the textural richness of fine Meursault (at a fraction of the price).
Right now, it is an intense orb of profound energy bursting with all kinds of white fruits, sweet florals and white minerals alongside this wine’s classic smoky, reductive notes. In the mouth, you get the extraordinary density of top ‘Chenin de Brézé’ but also a wave of uplifting freshness and a line of phenolic tension cutting through the core. So complex and coiled and with a finish that throws up some serious extract, this is a serious bit of kit that will need a decant and appropriate fare if approached young.
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