Thursday, October 07, 2010

Domaine Filliatreau, Saumur-Champigny

In the way that the general wine drinking public under-values Loire red wines, I think that us Loire lovers under-value the wines of Domaine Filliatreau. In Saumur-Chamigny, it's easy to pay attention to the great wines of Clos Rougeard and to ignore everyone else. My favorite producer in Saumur-Champgny, outside of Clos Rougeard, is Domaine Filliatreau. The wines deliciously express terroir and are modestly priced.

Filliatreau's is a large estate and there are many wines produced. Not all of these wines make it to the US, and those that do make it here are not widely available. They are worth looking for, though, particularly the two top wines, Grand Vignolle and Saumur-Champigny Vieille Vignes. And it is these two that I very rarely see, at least in the retail shops that I frequent. I love the Vieille Vignes, but the last vintage that I've seen here is 2005 -that was two years ago. I drank a lot of 2005 Grand Vignolle, didn't love the 2006, never saw the 2007, and liked the 2008 a year ago at a Dressner tasting.

I haven't seen Grand Vignolle on retail shelves in almost 2 years, but I am happy to tell you that Chambers Street is selling the 2007 right now, and the wine is in New Jersey too - who knows where else. If you like Cabernet Franc from the Loire and you haven't tried this wine, you honestly should make a point of buying this. I promise you, you will not be disappointed. If you are, email me and I'll send you a check*.

La Grand Vignolle is a large set of vineyards that runs alongside the Loire River in Saumur-Champigny. The vineyards are on a large hill of Tuffeau and other rock, and there are caves, and even houses built right into the stone. The vines for this wine are about 40 years old and the wine is typically intense and expressive without being too weighty.

2007 Domaine Filliatreau Saumur-Champigny La Grand Vignolle, $18, Louis/Dressner Imports. This is great wine! Right out of the wine fridge, it is all about cool dark fruit flavors and floral aromatics. As the wine warms, the iron and metal minerality takes over the bass line and the nose begins to show graphite and tobacco tones. Perfectly balanced and completely delicious, there is no shame in drinking this all up now. But the quiet old vine intensity, the substance that emerges in the mid-palate, the strong acidity...these things make me determined to put a couple bottles away for a few years.


*By "check," I mean a note of apology.

10 comments:

Wicker Parker said...

One of these days I'll withdraw some money from my 401(k) and buy a bottle of Clos Rougeard. Meanwhile, I'm glad to have affordable Saumur like the Grande Vignolle around. As far as Saumur goes, I'm particularly partial to Chateau Gaillard, Domaine Guiberteau, and Sébastien Bobinet, all of whom make such vibrant, expressive wine.

Brooklynguy said...

hey mike - c'mon...a bottle of les poyeaux costs less than a top 1er cru in Burgundy, and is probably going to be more satisfying, on average. Except for Bobinet, I've not had those others, but thanks for the tips.

ebw said...

Another nice SC is Chateau Hureau. I haven't come across the top cuvee (Lisagathe, I think), but the normale, at under $20, is great in both 06 and 07.

Wicker Parker said...

True, I was being a bit facetious with the 401(k) comment, but as the Poyeaux is 3 to 4 times the price of some really excellent Saumur, and even nearly 3 times the price of Baudry's great Chinons, I do feel the sticker shock. Would love to try any Rougeard some day, but it would definitely be a special occasion wine for me, to be sure.

Elliot said...

Had a bottle of the Filliatreau with dinner Saturday night and paired it with duck. While the wine was delicious, it didn't really go well with the main course.

We'd like to try the Filliatreau again, but are kind of stumped. What would you have it with?

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Elliot - happy to suggest a few pairings, but it would help me to know a bit more about your experience with the wine and your duck? what wasn't working?

Elliot said...

We had duck breast (no bone), with a cherry based sauce; quinoa with almonds and broccoli.

The wine just didn't mix with the duck. I guess that I mean that in the mouth, the duck was on one side and the wine in the other. Neither seemed to enhance the experience of the other.

I hope that this makes sense, my wife is the editor/writer of the family.

Thanks.

Brooklynguy said...

Elliot - it sounds like a pretty good pairing to me, what you had. If it is the duck that didn't work, perhaps try something a little less gamy? I served this to a friend once and he said that he wanted roast chicken with it. You might also try a simple country dish like french green lentil stew with turnips and/or thick cut bacon. the earthiness of lentils seems like a good match to me. Same for mushrooms - you could try any dish based on mushrooms. You could also keep it super simple and just cook a steak medium rare, and see how that works.

Brooklynguy said...

Elliot - here is a link to a lentil stew that might work for you.

Elliot said...

Thanks so much for your suggestions. We'll give them a try and let you know