Saumur-Champigny has the reputation for producing some of the finest expressions of Cabernet Franc available to humanity. The underlying tuffeau (a soft, chalky limestone) is the foremost element in Saumur-Champigny’s distinctive quality. It is here, in the small town of Dampierre-sur-Loire overlooking the Loire River, where Château du Hureau is able to harness climate, soil, and vine to reveal the most striking wines of the appellation.
Fifth generation vigneron Philippe Vatan and his daughter Agathe use organic and biodynamic farming techniques and low yields to coax richness and terroir out of their 20 plots covering just under 50 acres. The varying layers of topsoil (it’s either fertile clay or a sandy type of soil) and diverse sun exposure affect every plot’s personality, expression, and importance in their various cuvées. The wines are vinified in a cave carved out of the tuffeau cliffs centuries ago. The wines see long fermentations with indigenous yeasts. The élevage lasts from 10 to 20 months deep in the tuffeau cellars in a combination of demi-muids and foudres.
All of these factors contribute to the elaboration of Cabernet Franc wines that are aromatically complex with the hallmark Saumur-Champigny scents of black raspberry and earth. Wines that are dark and intense yet supple and sappy, with the electrifying, palpable acidity you expect from northern France.
Special prices based on purchase of 6-pack (mix-and-match)
~$31 “Fours à Chaux” (Saumur-Champigny 2014) red
From two plots “Les Fiefgarniers” and “Pavignolles” in the vineyards of “Fours à Chaux,” mixed sand and clay above a chalky limestone bowl that gets prolonged sunlight during the ripening season. The name “Fours à Chaux” translates to “lime oven” as the soil of the vineyard warms up easily and manages to produce the ripest of fruit in every vintage. The age of the vines varies between 20 and 50 years. Depending on vintage characteristics, the wine ages for anywhere between 11 to 18 months in foudre.
~$37 “Les Fevettes” (Saumur-Champigny 2014) red
From the deep clay lieux-dits of “Les Fevettes” and “La Croix Blanche” – Château du Hureau’s oldest Cabernet Franc vineyards planted in 1943. The wine was aged for 24 months in foudre and bottled without filtration. 2014 was a magnificent vintage for “Les Fevettes,” producing a classic and long-lasting expression of Saumur-Champigny with serious structure and aromatic finesse.
~$44 “Lisagathe” (Saumur-Champigny 2014) red
The cuvée “Lisagathe” is named after Philippe’s two daughters, Lisa and Agathe. This is Château du Hureau’s top wine from a plot named “La Corde” that was planted in 1953 and located on the hillside just above the Château. The vines are drastically thinned to force small yields of healthy, concentrated fruit. The wine was aged for 24 months in foudre and bottled without filtration, resulting in a cuvée capable of lengthy development in a proper cellar.
~$29 “Argile” (Saumur 2014) white
The cuvée “Argile” is named after the deep clay topsoil of the Hureau vineyards planted to Chenin Blanc. It is 100% Chenin Blanc from hillside lieux-dits “Entre Deux Voies,” “Les Gruches,” and “Saint Vincent” planted with vines that have an average age of 30 years. The plots are worked with the aim of restricting yields to enable the grapes to ripen naturally, resulting in concentrated wines, dry yet with just a hint of residual sugar for superb balance, filled with fruit, floral aromatics and freshness. The wine matures for nine months in neutral barrel.