48 bottles only. 100% Chenin Blanc from the tiny Clos previously mentioned that also makes a red of the same name – a site that overlooks the Loire river, at Dampierre southwest of Saumur. At just under 2-hectares, much of the site is planted to Cabernet Franc, with just 10% devoted to Chenin. In a good year, this limits production to just two, 600-litre, thick-staved, old, oval casks — or around 1,200 bottles. At an average of 60 years old, the Chenin vines here are a good twenty years older than the Cab Franc vines. Germain notes that the yellow Turonian limestone of Dampierre brings more fat, or richness to this white, which often manifests a riper, almost Puligny-like, fruit profile (as opposed to the Riesling doppelgängers, Insolite and Clos Romans).
Along with Clos Rougeard’s Brézé bottling, Germain’s two ‘clos’ wines are further proof (if any was needed) that Saumur is blessed with one of France’s most singular white wine terroirs. Characteristically taut and yet silken, the ‘14 Clos de L’Echelier is buzzing with notes of fresh nectarine and lemongrass, and icy, mouth-watering, sorbet-like freshness and clarity. There’s endless intensity and latent power here, not to mention ageing potential. And yet it is so delicious now!