From: Loire Valley, France
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Fruit for ‘Les Chapaudaises’ comes from a small, one-hectare plot in the heart of Saumur. Brendan Stater-West moved to France ten years ago to teach English and fell in love with wine while working at a retail shop in Paris. He founded his namesake domaine in 2015 after scoring an apprenticeship and studying under Romain Guiberteau.
Wine Spectator: 94 Points
This is elegant and enticing with baking spice salted butter and hazelnut notes up front but with some air flavors of honeysuckle roasted pineapple and singed lemon peel emerge giving this an edge. A flash of cardamom flows through the long sea salt?infused finish. This complex version is still youthful and will only improve with age. Best from 2022 through 2034. 334 cases made 100 cases imported.
About. Importer Becky Wasserman met fellow ex-pat and wine geek, Brendan Stater-West, where magic happens – in Romain Guiberteau’s cellar in Saint-Just-sur-Dive. Since 2011, Brendan has been working behind the scenes as Romain’s right-hand man. And in 2015, he completed the first harvest of wine to be bottled under his own label, from the wonderfully unique site of Les Chapaudaises!
Brendan’s personal story and background in wine (in his own words)…
“I arrived in France 10 years ago, originally to be an English teacher in Paris. In my second year of teaching, I became hooked on wine, thanks to a coworker of mine. Fortunately, it was someone who had a good palate and took me to several professional wine tastings. This sparked the flame for my love of wine that has not yet died out! I then decided to stop teaching in order to learn wine and enter the profession. I went to a school in Paris to learn the trade, more on the retail side of things. I worked in a small and beautiful store, Spring, in the 1st arrondissement for an American chef, Daniel Rose, who has an amazing gastronomic restaurant.
During this period, we were selling the wines from Domaine Guiberteau. I remember tasting the wines for the first time and immediately being hit by a divine revelation of limestone terroir, through Chenin! I was hooked... thanks to Brézé 2008! I already knew that retail wasn't for me in the long-haul, so after tasting this wine, I felt like it was time to make the move out of the city and get back into a more rural context where I could learn to grow grapes and vinify. I therefore harassed Romain Guiberteau and other winemakers in the area for a month, when finally, Romain gave in and accepted to take me under his wing as an apprentice. I enrolled in a BTS Viti-Oeno program and worked full-time at the domaine. My only time working outside the domaine was for a short 3 months where I went to the Clos Cristal, the hospices de Saumur, to learn how to work exclusively in the vineyard with horses. This is a future project of mine by the way...
In 2015, I insisted that I wanted to find some vineyards to start making my own wine. Romain proposed one hectare of a vineyard called Les Chapaudaises to me, and I knew it was a terroir that could make the style of Chenin that I am crazy for: elegant, pure, vertical, with salinity from the limestone. What a wonderful vintage to begin with as well! Beautiful ripeness and satisfactory yields after a very easy growing season.”
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