04 Nov Antoine Sanzay

Antoine Sanzay

Saumur-Champigny

Antoine Sanzay took control of the family’s eleven hectares of vines in 1999 and launched his own label in 2002 with 50% of the domaine’s harvest.  He wisely continued to sell the other half of his fruit to the cooperative in St-Cyr-en-Bourg for cash flow.  His cellar and home are located in Varrains, one of nine communes that make up the Saumur Champigny appellation southeast of of the town of Saumur.

With the 2013 vintage, Antoine was able to cut ties with the local co-op and he now utilizes all of the grapes from his 27 acres of vines.  His current range includes three red cuvées (Saumur-Champigny) and an excellent Saumur Blanc.  Loire-based author and columnist Jacqueline Friedrich calls his cement-aged Cuvée Domaine ‘a drink me up’ Champigny.  It’s an accessible, fresh and fruity, bistro-friendly Franc made from 35 year-old vines.  The latest addition to the gamme is his mid-range Cab Franc made from a favorite, late-ripening, northwest-facing parcel called La Haye Dampierre.  The Saumur Champigny Les Poyeux is from the appellation’s best vineyard in neighboring Chacé where Antoine owns just under 10 acres.  Les Poyeux is shared with the Foucault Brothers of the famous Clos Rougeard who own seven acres. This is a serious Cabernet Franc, made from 50 year-old vines and aged entirely in fourth and fifth-year Bordeaux barrels for eighteen months.  For the past three vintages, Sanzay Les Poyeux has been ranked with Clos Rougeard’s top cuvées as one of the best red wines of Saumur by French critics Michel Bettane and Thierry Desseauve.

Antoine’s practices in both vineyard and cellar have been strictly natural for several years, but he only recently obtained organic certification through Ecocert.

DOMAINE FACTS

Vines & Wines: 27.2 acres total in Varrains, Chacé and St-Cyr-en-Bourg: 24.7 acres of Cabernet Franc, including just under 10 acres in Chacé’s Les Poyeux cru, plus 2.47 acres of Chenin Blanc.
Average age of vines is 35 years-old with just under five acres in Les Poyeux over 50 years-old.
Saumur-Champigny (Cuvée Domaine): 100% Cabernet Franc vinified and aged in cement cuves.
Saumur-Champigny La Haye Dampierre: 100% Cabernet Franc from northwest facing lieu-dit vinified in cement and aged six months in neutral barrels.
Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux: 100% Cab Franc from 50 year-old vines in the appellation’s best cru. Elevage is 18 months in neutral barrels.
Saumur Blanc Les Salles Martin: 100% Chenin Blanc from 40 year-old, one-hectare parcel. Aged in combination of 25hl foudres and 6hl barrels.
Vineyard and cellar practices are natural and organic (certified by Ecocert).
Soil: Chalky limestone and clay marl slopes on tuffeau stone base with sandy topsoil
Chenin parcel on limestone with sedimentary alluvial sand/clay deposits (limon)
Harvest: Manual harvest using small crates
Yields: 45 hectoliters/hectare on average (40 hl/ha for Les Poyeux)
Vinification & Elevage: Indigenous yeast only. All three reds fermented in cement cuves. Cuvée Domaine also aged in cement while elevage for the two single-vineyard reds, La Haye Dampierre and Les Poyeux, takes place in neutral (fourth and fifth year) barrels. Six months in barrel for La Haye Dampierre and eighteen months for Les Poyeux. Reds are not fined or filtered. The domaine’s only white wine, Les Salles Martin, is made from direct press Chenin Blanc. It does not undergo malo-lactic fermentation and is aged sur lies for eleven months in a combination of 2500 liter foudres and 600 liter barrels.
Annual Production:
20,000 bottles / 1,667 cases