Chenin Blanc, Chenin Blanc and More Chenin Blanc!

by Chris Walsh September 16, 2016

Dear Wine Lover,

Here’s a brand new producer who we discovered when two top tier Vouvray producerstipped us off.  This is how we love to find them.

Consistently, our discovery of a new producer has come about through the efforts and generosity of someone we are already working with, or whom we’ve gotten to know well in a region.  Two great examples are Isabella Pellezotti in Valtellina (thanks for the introductions to Giorgio Gianatti, Siro Buzzetti and Guiseppe Guglielmo) and Cristiano Garella in the Northern Piedmont (thanks for the introductions to Gian Luca Columbo and a player to be named later).  
 
Today’s very special producer came to us in precisely the same fashion and we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to bring you these three of his dry white wines from Vouvray in the Loire. 
 
In April, I was with Fiona Beeston from Clos des Capucins and we were discussing great Chenin Blanc.  Such a conversation inevitably leads to a discussion of the wines of Vouvray.  And a conversation about Vouvrary leads to discussion of two stalwarts of the region, Domaine Huet and Phillipe Foreau of Domaine Clos Naudin.  I mentioned to Fiona that it would be great if we could find someone in Vouvray, but so far what we had tasted didn’t excite us.  What played out next is not a case of first impression for us with Fiona.  You may recall that when we were interested in adding a top notch Muscadet producer to the family, Fiona picked up the phone and called Guy Boussard, the iconic producer from Domaine L’Ecu, and after a series of calls and visits we forged our relationship with the exceptionally talented Julien Braud.  In this case, Fiona called Noël Pinguet, the winemaker at Domaine Huet until 2012 and Phillipe Foreau, and solicited their views on who they thought was working well in Vouvray and who might welcome a visit from a small, nitchy importer.  They both offered up a couple of suggestions but one name matched from both of their lists, Sébastien Brunet.
 
It was about 30 minutes after we got that tip that Fiona was on the phone with Sébastien and I was in the car on my hour-long journey northeast from Clos des Capucins in Chinon to the small village of Reugny on the northern end of Vouvray.  Upon my arrival I was greeted by a focused and obviously busy, Sébastien Brunet.  We spent the next couple of hours touring the labyrinth limestone caves carved into the hillside that houses Sébastien’s winemaking and aging facility.  It is easy to be taken by the history and feel inside these caves, but what was even more exciting was the quality of the wines.  We tasted through the entire line-up of Sébastien’s offerings:  Three sparkling Chenin Blanc wines, three dry (or sec) Chenin Blancs and a slightly sweeter (or demi-sec) Chenin Blanc.  We wrapped things up with a rosé sparkling wine from Grolleau and Gamay.  

 
Based upon the level of quality, we could (and probably should) have taken them all.  But we narrowed our focus to three classically styled Vouvray wines, two dry white Chenin Blancs and our first pétillant natural sparkling wine from 100% Chenin Blanc.  These will give you a great look at the talent bursting from the cellars of Sébastien Brunet.  These wines just landed in our cellar in California and are ready to hit your tables.  They are great wines for any time of year, but they will work particularly well for you and your guests as we head into the holiday season.  

You can get more detail on each of the wines that are available now by clicking on the respective labels for Sébastien’s “entry” level Chenin Blanc Arpent (fermented and aged in stainless steel tank), his older vines Chenin Blanc Renaissance (fermented and aged in mostly larger old barrels) and the 100% Chenin Blanc Petillant Le Naturel non-vintage sparkler.


Cheers,
Chris & Michael




Chris Walsh
Chris Walsh

Author



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