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Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux 2007

Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux 2007

I have already published a couple of interesting vintage-based reports on both Bordeaux and the Loire Valley this year including, focusing specifically on the latter of these two regions, a look at the wines of 2002 in the Loire Valley at fifteen years of age, and similarly the wines of 1997 at twenty years of age. This week I move on to look at the 2007 vintage, now celebrating its tenth birthday of course. I kick off tomorrow with a 2007 Loire Valley retrospective, continuing later in the week – as I did with my other reports – to look at wines from other wine regions that have found their way into my cellar over the past decade.

Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux 2007

The 2007 vintage in the Loire Valley was really of more interest for white wines, either dry or sweet, rather than red wines. This is perhaps a curious combination, because vintages with the required conditions for making sweet wines – mainly warm and dry weather through the harvest months, allowing the grapes to concentrate on the vine without succumbing to grey rot or other disease – also tend to benefit the later-ripening red varieties. In 2007, however, the weather gods clearly wanted to stock up with Quarts de Chaume (it was a truly magnificent vintage for this appellation) rather than Saumur-Champigny.

As a consequence, the tasting report I publish this week focuses on white wines, sec, demi-sec and moelleux, with only a couple of red wines. One domaine I did include in my tasting, though, was Clos Rougeard, both the domaine cuvée (sometimes referred to, certainly by Nady Foucault, as Le Clos) and the wine featured here, from Les Poyeux. Clos Rougeard has been in the news more than ever this year. When I first realised just how good these wines were I good buy them without trouble; I knew who stocked them, and I felt I could afford them. Since then I have watched the prices climb at an almost exponential rate, so much so that when the passing of the domaine from one generation to the next could not be resolved within the family, it was certain to attract outside buyers. After rumours surfaced in January this year it seemed the Bouygues brothers of Château Montrose were set to buy it. Many months later the sale was confirmed.

Clos Rougeard Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux 2007

Today I still know who stocks the wines of Clos Rougeard (although the bottles are usually in very short supply) although it is difficult for me to justify the prices now asked. The last vintage I bought into was the 2011 vintage, mainly because I felt privileged to even be offered a few bottles. I can’t envisage stocking up in 2014 and 2015 in the same manner, which is a great shame, as having tasted the former from barrel in the cellars, with Nady, and these are likely to be amazing wines.

In the meantime I will have to be content with looking back at older vintages from my cellar, such as here, with the 2007 Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux. From a highly regarded vineyard, at ten years of age this cuvée has an elegant and mature appearance, a fairly pale character, even veering towards a little translucency, with a broad and wan rim. It certainly doesn’t look hugely convincing next to the domaine cuvée, tasted alongside. The aromatics, however, are quite striking, with scents of smoke, tobacco and ash leading the way, while behind this the variety’s methoxypyrazine character comes out, with notes of green peppercorn, bay leaf and thyme. In keeping with this the palate is cool and sappy, certainly fresh, a combination of smoky blackcurrant fruit, showing a lightly cooked edge, with evolving scents of truffle, tobacco and spicy pepper, swirled with those bay leaf and thyme notes. In the finish, it has energy, drive and acid freshness. It is a wine of structure and poise, long and tense. Overall, this is a very impressive result from a vintage in which many did not fair well with red varieties, so hats off to Nady Foucault and his late brother, Charly, for what they achieved here. 17/20 • 94/100 (18/12/17)

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