We have been after the wines of Guiberteau for some time now, and are excited to be offering these stunning examples of Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc in Ontario for the first time. Having given up a career in law, Romain Guiberteau has transformed and elevated his family estate, virtually overnight, from a humble co-op supplier into one of France’s most sought after names. Guiberteau is a protege and follower of Clos Rougeard's Foucault Brothers, who brought the Brézé terroir to fame through their iconic white of the same name. Romain, the third generation at Guiberteau, has converted the estate to organic viticulture, and quickly become one of the region's most well regarded producers of both textured and refined Cabernet Franc and regally electric, fleshy, mineral-laden Chenin Blanc. The estate’s vineyards, 10ha of which date back to the 1940’s, are rooted in the limestone tuffeau of Brézé (Saumur); a terroir which speaks with clarity and yields wines of great elegance that are nonetheless built for aging. Romain Guiberteau’s wines reflect not only his dedication to this place but also a perfectionism shared in common with only the few great growers and winemakers.
If you have never encountered a Chenin Blanc from Guiberteau, the first taste is unforgettable, incorporating perhaps the best elements of great white Burgundy and German Riesling; elegant and mineral, with richness and layers of flavour supported by a backbone of laser-like acidity. These are profound, deeply complex, noble Chenins that offer tremendous value and serious aging potential. The hill of Brézé has long been known as a Loire ‘Grand Cru’ and is now taking it’s place alongside the world’s great terroirs amongst those in the know. With its clay-rich limestone soils, Brézé delivers an incredible finesse and length with a smoky, chalky mineral spine that is animated by ripe citrus, honey and delicate exotic notes. This is a wine of beautiful lift and elegance that can benefit from a decade or more in the cellar. The Clos de Guichaux is a walled monopole adjacent to Brézé and offers up a bit more orchard fruit and spice than Brézé, all wrapped around that chalky core of minerality.
While Guiberteau’s whites have become his calling card, his touch is not limited to Chenin; his Cabernet Francs are equalled or surpassed only by the legendary Rougeard and our own Thierry Germain. The Rougeard influence is most clearly felt not only in the Brézé whites, but also in Romain's richly-fruited single-site red, Les Motelles which comes from super-low yields on gravel and sand over limestone. There's a silky texture, a beautiful sense of refinement and a very precise combination of dark reds fruits, minerals and spice.
Also, do not overlook the two ‘entry level’ Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc cuvees. The Rouge comes from 50-80 year old vines and vinified in concrete, is pure and seductive. The Blanc is sourced from 2ha of Chenin grown on limestone-rich soils within Brézé itself and is fresh, taut and textured.