from the Saumur Champigny
appellation in the Loire Valley
(which of course means the
grape varietal is Cabernet Franc)
Clos Rougeard is owned and run by two brothers Jean-Louis ("Charly") and Bernard ("Nadi") Foucault. The vineyards have been farmed organically forever. The wines are unfined and unfiltered, and with an unusually small amount of sulfur.
With regards to alcohol level, this wine is at 12.5% and I suspect that's the Foucault's ideal. Occasionally they actually add sugar to bring the alcohol level up (chaptalize). Can you imagine this in the US or Australia?
Clos Rougeard makes four wines each year: The basic cuvée is a blend from various plots. The Les Poyeux remains in once-used barrels, and their top cuvée, Le Bourg, uses new barrels. They also make a beautiful white wine from chenin blanc grapes (it needs aging, too).
Clos Rougeard first came to my attention in Jacqueline Friedrich’s book, A Wine and Food Guide to the Loire. In it, she raved about this producer and gave them one of the rare five stars. (This book was published in 1996.) But I read the book just after we visited the Loire in December, 1999, and that's when we became huge fans of Loire reds.
More recently, Edward Behr wrote up his own visit to Clos Rougeard in the Art of Eating, issue 63 (in 2003). He, too, was quite impressed with the wines, and this moved Clos Rougeard to top of my Cab Franc radar.
Nady Foucault March 2002
Joanne's Tasting Notes:
Expressive nose of brandied red cherries with fresh crushed greens and forest floor under- neath. Slightly tart center gives way to earth and hints of dried red cherry with almost a pine needle/cedar element underlying and a meatiness. Long very clean finish with a touch of acid on the end of the finish. Elegant style showcases the structure and quality of fruit. Enjoyable to drink now from nose to finish but develops tremendously in the glass and would benefit from decanting time.
Aging Cellars at Clos Rougeard
Jack's Tasting Notes:
A fragrant, pleasing nose. Initially the wine seemed like it would be sweet, but it wasn't. It is smooth and elegant. It has a decent length finish. This is a very balanced wine and is all-around appealing. Not a monster, not fruit in your face - but the wine is all there, if you get me. It's one of the very best cabernet franc's I've tasted and can't help but make me think that Clos Rougeard may be the best producer of such in the Loire Valley.
Note: This wine will age gracefully for at least twenty years and requires decanting when this young. I intend to wait a few years before opening my next one.
Finding the Wines:
Because they are still below most everyone's radar, Clos Rougeard's wines are not impossible to get in the US.
The current vintage released is the 2002 for the reds. (This does mean they release their wines about two years after everyone else.) This is a great winery; meaning they make excellent wine every year.
Their US importer (except for the West Coast) is Louis/Dressner, and you can contact them here to find out where you can purchase them.
Their West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington) importer is Beaune Imports, and you can contact them here. Beaune Imports also has brought in some of the 1996 basic cuvée. The one bottle I've had of the 1996 was excellent (requires decanting) and I'll be buying three more if I stumble upon them.