François Saint-Lô Bois Guyon 2017

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Saumur, Loire, France
Cabernet Franc
Fermented with native yeasts, unfiltered & unfined, no additional sulphites
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The 2015 vintage of this spectacular cuvée was one of our favourite of recent memory, so much so we skipped the 2016 and here we are diving straight into the 2017 vintage. A drier year results in a darker, more muscular finished wine and the process is, accordingly, a little different. The vinification is probably his most refined; this time the grapes (Cabernet Franc from vines close to 90 years old) macerate half whole-bunch and half de-stemmed, then are pressed off to 400-litre barrels where the wine is left to develop over three full years, before resting in bottle for a year and a half before release. Patience is rewarded in a deep, glossy wine of extraordinary texture and finesse. As well as the sweet charred green pepper and black cherry aromas something floral and violet is coming through too. Exceptional!

In troglodyte caves deep in Berrie, near Saumur François Saint-Lô runs the Rue Des Belles Caves. Working in restaurants & wine bars he then dived headlong into winemaking, learning with producers like Olivier Cousin & Eric Dubois... Eventually he bought his own place near Berrie, approximately 25km south of Saumur, it was basically an ancient ruin, but has previously been used for wine production and since 2012 is being restored with the help of friends. Like his mentors François prefers to work with horses in the vineyards and all other work is done by hand. In the cellar he & the team use old barrels, fibreglass and a hundred year-old press that was there when he took over the place.