The story of Theo Blet is, by now, quite familiar to any who has spent any time buying, selling, and […]Keep Reading
The story of Theo Blet is, by now, quite familiar to any who has spent any time buying, selling, and enjoying wine. A young, multi-generational child of grape growers comes of age, and rather than sell the entirety of his family’s grapes to the local cooperative, he decides to vinify the best selection of fruit. What is uncommon about this story is that famille Blet and Theo have vineyards in some of the most auspicious terroirs of Saumur. Once a backwater only visited by a few hardcore and dedicated Loire Valley enthusiasts, Saumur has gone from obscure to cult and from cult to bluechip in the last quarter century. What set the stage for Saumur’s ascendant rise is the meeting of two distinct limestone soils – soft Tuffeau and hard, chalky Jurassic limestone of the Paris basin. If, by chance, one had to describe Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc from Saumur, the tension between hard and soft, fruit and minerality, delicacy and structure, isn’t just apt but seems predestined by the geology that sets this place apart.
Theo Blet was born into a family deeply rooted in the viticulture of Saumur, representing the fourth generation entrusted with the stewardship of his family’s vineyards. Guided by the wisdom imparted by his grandfather, who inherited the vines from his in-laws, and his father, who dutifully continued the legacy and started the process of converting to organic farming, Théo was well situated to build on his family’s heritage in Courchamps. Now totaling 16 hectares, Theo currently makes wine from two parcels – La Peyanne and Les Fabureaux. La Peyanne comes from a parcel of Chenin Blanc planted on a slight rise of land oriented north and south. La Peyanne has clay-limestone soils of eroded tuffeau 30cm deep over tuffeau bedrock. Les Fabreaux is nearby but planted with Cabernet Franc on sandier clay-limestone soils with a gentle south-facing slope.
The wine from the lieux-dits of La Peyanne and Les Fabreaux accounts for slightly over 1 hectare of Théo Blet’s vines, with the remaining fruit sold to the local cooperative. Over time, Theo expects to expand his range of offerings, but only if he finds that his fruit matches the quality of La Peyanne and Les Fabureaux. Theo’s practices are minimalist. The fruit is harvested by hand with direct pressing for the Chenin and destemming for his Cabernet Franc. Fermentations start spontaneously, and the wines are aged in third and fourth-fill 400L French oak barrels.
After tasting La Peyanne and Fabureaux, we cannot wait to see what this young, rising star has in store for us next.Close