Released in November 2021, after its customary five-year stay in the cellar, the 2016 Le Clos is a wine that makes you say, ‘God, this is good’ as soon as you put a drop in your mouth before you sink into it. While it is already starting to open up and could be approached by the impatient wine lover, this has the tannins that will leave you licking your lips and abundant acidity, making your mouth water. In combination with the fine concentration of fruit and long length, there’s no hurry to open. On the drawn-out finish, cherry, tea leaf, and mushroom flavours linger on and on.
Drink 2021 - 2046
Rebecca Gibb MW, Vinous.com (August 2022)
Mint-infused brisk blackcurrant fruit is accompanied by floral and spicy notes, contributing to the complexity on the nose. Firm tannins undergird the vibrant palate of this eminently drinkable wine.
Drink 2022 - 2030
Yohan Castaing, Decanter.com (February 2019)
This wine will be released in 2021, and I tasted it after only a year in bottle. Cool, fresh, and elegant. Bright and fruity, raspberry, wild strawberry, mint, liquorice, unique tart, juicy notes of Ruby Red grapefruit and a long chalky finish. Generous and open already.
There’s been so much written - and so much handwringing - about the change of ownership of this hallowed Loire estate since the death of Charly Foucault in 2015, and its acquisition in 2017 by Martin and Olivier Bouygues, the billionaire owners of Château Montrose in Saint-Estèphe. After eight generations of Foucaults running the estate in Saumur-Champigny, things got messy with Charly’s brother Nady retiring and Charly’s son, Antoine, soon leaving to focus on his own winery Domaine du Collier.
Françoise Foucault, Charly’s widow, recently had some sharp words for how the transition happened in La Revue du Vin de France - particularly about who was in charge of the 2015 vintage. Regardless of what Francoise insists, Jacques-Antoine Toublanc is now the winemaker. With 11 hectares and producing less than 4,000 bottles per year, Clos Rougeard makes three reds (Le Clos, Les Poyeux and Le Bourg) and one white each year. Le Bourg is produced from a single-hectare plot of 80-year-old Cabernet Franc vines, and Les Poyeux comes from a parcel first cultivated in 1664.
When I visited, I tasted the 2014, 2015, and 2016 vintages for each wine with Toublanc, who insisted he was trying to maintain the same style: “This is like a bible. Every day, we open the same pages.” Whatever the truth, 2014-2016 represents three important transitional vintages for Clos Rougeard.
Drink 2021 - 2046
Jason Wilson, Vinous.com (July 2020)
About this WINE
Clos Rougeard is situated in the tiny village of Chacé, within the Saumur-Champigny appellation, renowned for its exceptional Cabernet Franc wines. Its history dates back to the 17th century when the property was established and passed through the generations. In the middle of the 20th century, the estate passed to the Foucault brothers Bernard (Nady) and Jean-Louis (Charly) Foucault.
Nady and Charly were pioneers of organic viticulture, eschewing chemicals to make wines as naturally as possible and inspiring other winemakers to follow their lead. Charly passed away in 2015, and the estate was sold to the Bouygues family - owners of Château Montrose in Saint-Estèphe - in 2017.
The domaine’s 11 hectares of vines are spread across 20 plots, mostly on clay and limestone soil. 4 wines are produced: 3 reds under the Saumur-Champigny appellation and a white Saumur from Brézé. Of the red cuvées, Le Clos - a blend of several plots – drinks earliest. Les Poyeux is typically elegant and delicate, while Le Bourg is the most age-worthy wine.
The arrival of Martin and Olivier Bouygues saw significant investment, particularly in a new winery building, which opened officially in 2023. Richard Desouche and Jacques-Antoine Toublanc now head up the domaine in the vines and winery, aiming to maintain the exceptionally high standards achieved by the Foucault brothers.
The Saumur-Champigny wine region is located in the Loire Valley of France, specifically within the Anjou-Saumur area. It is renowned for producing high-quality red wines from Cabernet Franc and has held the prestigious designation of an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) since 1957.
Geographically, the region is situated on the banks of the Loire River, characterized by a diverse terroir that contributes to the unique characteristics of its wines. The vines benefit from a temperate climate influenced by the river, with warm summers and mild winters. The surrounding landscape features limestone slopes and a mix of clay, gravel, and sand soils, providing excellent drainage and ideal conditions for grape cultivation.
The dominant grape variety in Saumur-Champigny is Cabernet Franc, known locally as "Breton." It thrives in the region's terroir and produces red wines renowned for their elegance, finesse, and aromatic complexity. Cabernet Franc from Saumur-Champigny is typically characterized by its vibrant red fruit flavors, including raspberry, red currant, and cherry, along with herbal and floral notes such as violet and graphite.
Winemaking in Saumur-Champigny emphasizes the expression of the grape variety and the unique terroir. Vineyard practices include meticulous grape selection, manual harvesting, and sustainable viticultural techniques. Many producers are also adopting organic and biodynamic farming methods to enhance the quality and authenticity of the wines.
Saumur-Champigny wines are typically aged in various vessels, including stainless steel tanks, oak barrels, or a combination, depending on the winemaker's preferences. The aging process allows the wines to develop further complexity and refine their structure.
These red wines are celebrated for versatility, making them suitable for immediate consumption and aging, and they pair well with various dishes, including roasted meats, game, charcuterie, and cheeses.
Cabernet Franc is widely planted in Bordeaux and is the most important black grape grown in the Loire. In the Médoc it may constitute up to 15% of a typical vineyard - it is always blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and is used to add bouquet and complexity to the wines. It is more widely used in St.Emilion where it adapts well to the cooler and moister clay soils - Cheval Blanc is the most famous Cabernet Franc wine in the world, with the final blend consisting of up to 65% of the grape.
Cabernet Franc thrives in the Loire where the cooler growing conditions serve to accentuate the grape's herbaceous, grassy, lead pencil aromas. The best wines come from the tuffeaux limestone slopes of Chinon and Bourgeil where growers such as Jacky Blot produce intense well-structured wines that possess excellent cellaring potential.