The why, the what and the how of...

Domaine des Closiers

Domaine des Closiers, owned by visionary Anatole de la Brosse, has one objective: to produce a wine of the purest Saumur limestone expression. The ex-business consultant come trained enologist, with the assistance of the Loire valley’s most celebrated names, Michel Chevré (Clos de l’Ecotard) and Nady Foucault (Clos Rougeard), has turned this Domaine into one of the most significant new estates to emerge from the Loire in decades (said the French guide Bettane & Desseauve).

Domaine des Closiers is the creation of Anatole de la Brosse, the previous head of a leading management consulting firm, trained as an oenologist who decided to pursue his first love: wine. In 2018 he acquired the Domaine des Closiers, an historic property located in Parnay in the heart of Saumur-Champigny. This 15-hectare estate of clay-limestone with its 35-year-old vineyards was named after the vineyard workers who once lived in the ancient caves carved into the hills. The hills of Parnay are especially noteworthy as the rest of Saumur-Champigny is quite flat. At the Domaine, there is a deep richness to the soil and these vineyards make for some of the most beautiful in the appellation. 95% of the vineyard is planted to Cabernet Franc to produce rich and elegant wines in AOC Saumur Champigny. The rest is planted to Chenin blanc and Chardonnay.

In order to maximise the potential of his new estate, in true project management style, Anatole brough in the expertise of two leading figures in the Loire. First, Michel Chevré of Clos de l’Ecotard who worked closely with Thierry Germain when they developed a pioneering biodynamic regime. Michel is in charge of the biological conversion at Domaine des Closiers. Then Nady Foucault of Clos Rougeard oversees the ageing of the wines.

When de la Brosse purchased the winery, it already had 15 hectares of mature plantings. They immediately converted to organic and biodynamic viticulture. Harvest is carried out meticulously by hand and fermentation occurs with indigenous yeasts.

In the cellar, the grapes are handled gently and with precision thanks to state of the art winemaking equipment: a horizontal pneumatic press, sorting table, Oscilly destemmer and thermo-regulated tanks.

For each of its wines, the Domaine aims to preserve the freshness and purity of the fruit. The reds start with a pre-fermentation maceration that can last for days before alcoholic fermentation commences spontaneously. Total maceration time can last up to a month before pressing and transfer to casks for aging and settling.

The range starts with the entry-level Saumur-Champigny Rouge called, “Closiers”, which is aged in tanks for 6 to 8 months before bottling. A deep, nuanced and pure wine, drinkable on release but can benefit from 10 to 15 years of ageing. A second cuvée called “Les Coudraies” is selected from several top parcels from Les Coudraies hillsides. With its more structured fruit, this bottling is aged for approximately 12 months in mostly used barrels. It displays more evident power and structure, a typical example of what makes Cabernet Franc so unique and compelling.

The top red is produced from an old-vine parcel called Les Trezellières. Aged for an additional year in barrels (only 10-20% new), it rivals any red produced in the Loire Valley today. All three reds, including even the entry-level Closiers, share the velvety textural character that Nady achieved at Clos Rougeard.

Less than 5% of the estate’s hectares are planted to white varietals, but they also yield extraordinary wines. Some rare Chardonnay is fashioned into the IGP “Cuvée Libere.” And the Saumur blanc “Allegory” comes from just a few rows of Chenin blanc. Each wine is a striking example of its varietal and terroir, and each shares the hallmark textural depth demonstrated in the region’s finest whites.

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