Producer Profile: Crowning the municipal center of the ancient town of Saumur is the ancient white-limestone, gray-shingled Château de Saumur, a 10th century bit of architecture originally forged as a wartime fortification against Norman raids on the riverside town. The building has a violent and varied history, changing hands more times than fingers on both your hands can count, operating alternatively as a stronghold for a Benedictine Abbey to the parlor of a royal Christmas’s celebration in 1188 under Henry II to simply a structure meant to be burned to the ground to a modern repository for arms and ammunition before it was purchased by the town of Saumur proper in the 20th century and therein converted to a museum. The Château’s history testifies to the human violence that has spent a millennia doing its darndest to ruin this land that is anything but ruined: Saumur. By many accounts the heart of Loire wines, the tuffeau hills surrounding the downtown structures – the tuffeau buildings which overlook the confluence of the Thouet and Loire rivers – of Saumur are where some of the richest and nerviest chenin blancs and cab francs of the world have ever been cultivated. This is hearty, beautiful land whose wines carry with them that stony weight of history, some pristine thing living within the hard-won. For Domaine Bobinet’s Sébastien Bobinet, he grew up among these tuffeau-grown vines and took over his family’s hectareage in 2003. After eight good years of work, Bobinet found both love and a viticultural partner who would help take the operation into overdrive. Since 2011, working with partner Eméline Calvez (a former professional dancer whose career-ending injury spurred her to the vines), the estate has grown in scale and curiosity not to mention quality – this is a kick-ass winemaking couple working amongst some of the most *preciously tough* and highly-sought-after terroir in the world.
Vinification: 100% Cab Franc from 35 year old vines grown on clay and limestone soils in Saumur. Grapes hand-harvested and fermented whole cluster. Bottled unfined, unfiltered with no SO2.
Tasting: A light bodied, fruit-driven, effortlessly drinkable cab franc from the Loire. Summer cherries and strawberries galore. Serve with a chill.