Brendan Stater-West “Brézé” Saumur Blanc, Loire Valley, 2018
We admire Brendan Stater-West’s “get ‘er done” attitude. In the mid-2000’s, Brendan left America to teach English in France. In his second year teaching, a co-worker got him hooked on wine, leading to a job at a wine shop in Paris. His revelation wine was a 2008 Chenin Blanc from Domaine Guiberteau. (We offered the sister property Domaine du Collier a couple of weeks ago!) After experiencing this wine, Brendan knew he needed to move to the production side to make Chenin Blanc specifically. So he went to the Loire Valley and, in his words,”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. 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.”
In 2018, he acquired a parcel in Chenin Blanc nirvana - the hill of Brézé in Saumur. The 2008 vintage is the first release of the wine. Lovers of Chenin Blanc should obtain as many of these early vintages as possible. Brendan is a rising superstar, and now being imported by the legendary Wasserman Imports to America, won’t be under the radar for long.
Well played Brendan!