Château Yvonne - Saumur Champigny 'La Folie' 2015
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We picked up three of Matthieu's reds, and 'La Folie' is a fantastic introduction to his style. Not that this is a "basic wine" by any definition of the word. It's biodynamic, made with extreme care on chalky soils, and will develop elegantly over the next few years. It should be ready a bit faster than his flagship rouge, and is racy, pure, and vibrant.
You never quite forget this is Cabernet Franc, as there is a touch of earthiness and vegetation, but it's more to the background. Upfront there is loads of juicy black fruit, swathes of minerality, and bright flowers. It's a delicious wine that proudly delivers massive quality for the price.
Annual Production: 20,000 bottles per year
Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc
Terroir: Clay/limestone soils
Winemaking: Native yeast fermentation in 50 hl concrete vats for 4 weeks. Aged for 12 months in half 38 hl foudre and half in 4-5 year old barriques.
Certification: Certified organic (Ecocert 1997)
Drinking Window: 2018-2025
92 Points Wine Spectator
“Offers a lovely core of dark cherry, damson plum and black currant fruit set over a light chalky structure, picking up bay leaf, olive and anise notes along the way. Shows fine integration and length on the bramble-infused finish. Best from 2018 through 2027. 1,950 cases made.”
Château Yvonne is an ancient estate that dates to the 16th century, and winemaking is part of its tradition since 1813, when a local winemaker moved in. But it wasn't until almost 200 years later in 1997 that Yvonne and Jean-François Lamunière decided to recreate the abandoned vineyard with the help of Françoise Foucault, of Clos Rougeard.
In 2007, Matthieu Vallée purchased the estate but kept the name of the winery out of respect to the incredible work done by the Lamunières. This is now one of best producers in Saumur alongside Clos Rougeard and Guiberteau, with 8 hectares of Cabernet Franc and 3 hectares of Chenin Blanc and 8 hectares of Cabernet Franc. Everything has been farmed organically (Ecocert certified) since 1997 and biodynamically since 2012.
Vallée uses native yeast fermentation only, and has no additions other than minimal SO2, slow malolactic fermentation, and minimal racking. All his wines are unfined and unfiltered, and are ambitious, long-living examples of the best of Saumur.