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The Brézé hill is home to at least nine historic and clearly delimited clos (or enclosed single climats), most still owned by the Château de Brézé. Of these nine clos, three were singled out in the last century for their outstanding quality by Maurice Edmond Sailland (author of the Très Grands Vins de Saumur and better known by his pen name of Curnonsky). The Guiberteau clan own one of these three, the monopole of Clos des Carmes, acquired by Romain’s grandfather in 1955. That’s some good buying right there! It’s a south-facing vineyard that sits mid-slope on the belly of the hill and covers some 2.6 hectares. The entire parcel was replanted with massale cuttings by Robert Guiberteau (Romain’s father) in 2004.
Only 0.8 hectares of the vineyard (producing 30 hl/ha) are used for the Clos de Carmes bottling, with the remainder declassified (for now) into the Saumur Blanc and the Brézé bottlings. The élevage is the same as for the latter cuvée: whole-cluster pressing; indigenous yeast fermentation in barrel (new, one- and two-year-old oak); and 24 months aging on fine lees in cask. Despite the similar upbringing, this wine is typically more tightly wound than Guiberteau’s classic Brézé bottling. For this reason, the cuvée is rested for a further year in the bottle before release.
That extra year means a lot. There is marked strength, yet every molecule of the wine is tightly bound together by the significant structure and ample dry extract. As Rajat Parr points out, Clos des Carmes is Guiberteau’s “standout white”, yet, veering deep into Burgundian territory, the wine’s saturating intensity and energetic force also make it the domaine’s most brooding white. We have yet to taste the 2018, but this wine’s track record and the year’s strength promise a striking, tour-de-force dry Chenin that will live and develop (and give enormous pleasure!) for decades.
We respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation, who are the Traditional Owners of the land on which we operate in Melbourne, and pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging. We also acknowledge and respect the Traditional Owners of lands across Australia, their Elders, Ancestors, cultures and heritage, and recognise the continuing sovereignties of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Nations.
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