Château Yvonne - Saumur Champigny Rouge 2018
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It's long been our humble opinion at Cork Culture that Cabernet Franc from the Loire is one of the greatest and most undervalued wines in the world. For years we've been trying to showcase this region, but honestly it's still hasn't quite found mainstream appeal in Hong Kong. Maybe it never will. All the better for wine geeks.
Mathieu Vallée is the hawk-eyed, furrow-browed proprietor at Château Yvonne. When you meet him, the wines make sense. He is ambitious, and he wants to make the best wines he can in the Loire, which is fortunate that he has excellent land in Saumur. His reds are always bright but fleshy, with plenty of fruit and acidity to reward longer ageing. From a mixture of young and very old vines up to 80-years-old.
Annual Production: 6,000 bottles per year
Blend: 100% Cabernet Franc
Terroir: Clay/limestone soils over tuffeau stone
Winemaking: Native yeast fermentation in 38 hl foudres for 4 weeks. Malolactic fermentation occurs naturally during aging in oak (20% new barrels for 12 months)
Certification: Certified organic (Ecocert 1997)
Drinking Window: 2019-2030
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.