|2019 La Porte Saint Jean Saumur-Champingy||$53.95|
|3 Pack Pricing (use code LAPORTE)||$49.63|
In 2010, fast on the heels of apprenticing stints at Domaine Gauby and Clos Rougeard, Sylvain Dittière launched his own winery, La Porte Saint Jean. In the early years of the project, he managed to purchase two small vineyard holdings, giving him just shy of 8 hectares to call his own. It's a small slice of land but one he feels is, well, ‘enough.’
Dittière is married to Pauline Foucault, daughter of Clos Rougeard’s late and legendary Charly Foucault. And somehow, upon recently tasting this 2019 Saumur-Champigny, the wine’s effortlessness of expression and exquisite purity had my mind unexpectedly wandering. The determined spirit of Rougeard - the assuredness and exuberance of personality present in their most convincing wines - is here.
The wine has a lucidly clear bouquet of still-tart red cherries as well as an insisted-upon floral quality that is just irresistible. It’s without a doubt the most floral Cabernet Franc I’ve ever tasted. The wine smells as much like spring flowers as spring flowers smell like spring flowers.
Two-thirds of the wine is free-run juice, and Dittière completes this with press wine, the latter adding a structure and solidity that usefully grounds the wine’s breezier red-fruited inclinations. It remains, though, fundamentally a wine of elegance and verdant freshness. Time in the glass brings further details, but above all amplifies the irrepressible floral essence of the wine. It seems to grow in intensity until you convince yourself the wine was steeped in petals.
This is Loire Cabernet Franc of rare distinction, a wine of real personality and class. Its spirit seems to me the worthiest nominee as heir to the legacy of Clos Rougeard, even more than Clos Rougeard itself since it was sold. You cannot miss the spirit of artisinality here, its lovingly-rendered feel. 6 bottles max per customer, please.