~ VARAINS - SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY ~

Domaine le Petit Saint Vincent



 

In the small circle of elite producers in the heartland of Saumur-Champigny in Varrains, the lively, friendly and talented Dominique Joseph is impossible to miss. First, with five generations of growers on his father’s side and four generations on his mother’s, Dominique is grounded and deeply rooted. Then, with humility at heart, Pélo, as he likes to be called by his friends, is constantly reassessing his work in the vineyard and at the Domaine to improve the respect of his soils and wines. Fully organically farmed since 1992, the estate grows 12 hectares of vineyard perfectly located over 55 different locations. 99% of the vines are Cabernet Franc, with 0.3 hectares of Chenin Blanc, grown on some of the best terroirs of France. This is quintessentially Saumur-Champigny, quintessentially delicious.

Born into a wine family in Saumur, Dominique is the sixth generation of the Josephs running the Domaine. His grand father George appointed his son Maurice to start making the wines and bottle the production. Dominique studied how to make wine in Saumur and worked as an intern in several local Domaines before taking over the family business in 1990. At the time the Domaine was 10 hectares and he increased the size to 12 hectares with currently one hectare as a new plantation.

From there, Dominique was a pioneer in the village to plough his soils and to start growing the vines organically. Back then, customers weren’t aware of great quality wines made in Saumur, but rather easy to drink reds and whites with some lovely sparkling wines made too. However, Dominique wanted to bring a fresh air and start emphasising the quality rather than quantities.

Fast track 15 years of hard labour and Domaine le Petit Saint Vincent is now among the best producers and still raising the bar. Seeing the motivation sparkle in Dominique’s eyes more than ever is amazing, even after 28 vintages under his belt. He never stops evolving and seeking new ways to improve the quality. In 2011, Dominique started to separately bottle his top terroir such as “Les Poyeux”, “Les Clos Lyzières” and “Les Perruchets”. The former, “Les Poyeux”, is a rock star terroir home to the most amazing, complex and energetic Cabernet Franc you’ll find in France.

The soils are sandy at the top, with the landmark yellow tuffeau and clay and limestone at the bottom of the slope. The infamous Clos Rougeard is a neighbour. “Les Clos Lyzières” is right next door to the “Les Poyeux” on only clay and limestone, bringing purity to the otherwise bolder and more structured “Les Poyeux”. As for “Les Perruchets”, it’s a rarity, a unicorn as we say in the wine world. Dominique is the last producer of Chenin Blanc in this location, where plenty of rocks draw the landscape and below ground heavy limestone is the norm with a bit of clay at the top.

The average age of the vineyards is old, about 55 years of age further enhancing the complexity of the wines. Lately, Dominique has invested in oak fermenters to increase the complexity of his “Les Poyeux”, no doubt this will be another mind blowing wine coming up.

Clos Cachet is honoured to exclusively import Domaine Le Petit Saint Vincent into Australia. The wines represent beautifully and with landmark-style what Saumur-Champigny is all about.

* Terroir is the specific combination of location, vineyard, climate and people that create a wine. Accordingly, different terroirs produce different wines

Domaine le Petit Saint Vincent Wines


 

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