Clos des Capucins is the passion of Fiona Beeston. After having been bitten by the wine bug working in Bordeaux, she moved to London where she tried her hand on the import side and then to Paris where she was an accomplished food and wine writer and worked in the famous wine shop, Legrand Filles et Fils. It was the influence of Monsieur Legrand, in part, that shaped Fiona’s world of wine: Champagne should be no or low dosée, Beaujolais isn’t chaptalized, and true wines reflect their terroir or they are to be dismissed.
After several stages, including one at Domaine Huet, Fiona embarked on a search for her own exceptional terroir. Her penchant for the freshness of the wines of the Loire and the class, sensuality and elegance of the reds from Chinon, were her focus. However, it had to be just right. So after a three-year search, with the able assistance of a very, very notable vigneron from the area (who will remain the “Eminence Grise” – a powerful, behind the scenes advisor), in 2010 Fiona realized on her dream and seized the Clos des Capucins.
The Clos des Capucins is a mere 1.5 hectare clos made up of four separate parcels. It overlooks the Vienne River and the Fortress of Chinon. The view is as spectacular as the location and soil. The Capucins monks first planted the vineyard in 1604. Today it’s planted exclusively to Cabernet Franc and the vines range from 30 to 80 years old. Everything has been worked organically since 2011. 2014 will be the first certified vintage Fiona produces, but since her first vintage in 2011, she has followed the same program. The vineyards are worked by hand and by horse, Isis the “cheval de laboure,” in a traditional manner. Yields are low. I mean low. The results are astounding.
When we first met Fiona, the 2011 was gone and only a modest number of bottles of 2012 still remained in her cave. The demand in Paris from both wine shops (La Derniere Goutte, Willy’s, Legrand Filles et Fils) and a few select restaurants where Fiona feels the quality and style of the food will complement her Clos des Capucins, had gladly taken all they could get. However, we made it our mission to try to get some of Fiona’s wines so we could introduce it to our discerning customer base. After a good bit of getting acquainted with each other and our overcoming the initial rejections, Fiona acquiesced.
Other importers had tried and been unsuccessful with Fiona. What was it about Balanced Wine Selections that worked for Fiona? As we pointed out in the brief offering email, we have similar philosophies. Fiona, in terms of what she wants to produce. BWS, in terms of what we want the wines in our portfolio to represent. In case you missed the offering, here’s the gist of it:
“A wine first and foremost must be digeste. It sounds like an old-fashioned idea, but it simply means that one should be able to drink wine throughout a meal, and in decent quantities and not feel knocked out, by the alcohol content or the over-extraction or sort of up-front jammy-ness that come with modern wines.”
Maybe that was it. Maybe it was just right place, right time. Regardless, we are thrilled. Thanks for the trust in us Fiona.
In the words of David Schildknecht from Vinous, “Austria’s 2013 Rieslings and Grüner Veltliners display exceptionally bright acidity, clear flavor definition and uncanny complexity.” 2013 has given us the stunning combination of healthy, ripe grapes that remain light on their feet as the alcohol levels stayed in check, married with focused, tense acidity.
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