100% Cabernet Franc. There are a lot of nice guys in the world, but few could be described as more genuinely nice than Brendan Stater-West. One might ask how a young American guy from Oregon with no winemaking history ends up in Saumur as the assistant vigneron to Romain Guiberteau (one of Luckysomm’s favorite vignerons), one of the most celebrated vignerons in the Loire Valley. It started with a job in a Parisian wine store where Brendan first tasted a bottle of Guiberteau. Fortune brought the young man a wonderful French wife, and they moved to Saumur where he asked Romain for a job. Romain agreed, a move that proved to be beneficial for both. His current boss and mentor, Romain Guiberteau, helped Brendan launch his domaine in 2015 by leasing him a single hectare of land next to Romain’s famous lieu-dit in the town of Bizay, Clos du Guichaux. Continuing his string of luck, Brendan recently met a family from a line of vignerons with no heirs, who own an old cellar in Chacé, a town in the appellation of Saumur-Champigny. The family wished it to become an active cellar again. It appears that their wish will come true, as Brendan bought the property and has begun the process of renovating this ancient tuffeau cave and turning it into his own. In addition to Brendan’s single hectare of vines from Les Chapaudaises, he has agreements with growers in other areas of Saumur. La Ripaille is a singe west-facing lieu-dit in the commune of Brézé. The topsoil is sandy loam with limestone underneath. Planted in the 1960s and farmed organically, this vineyard is stunning. Crafted like the Saumur Rouge, but aged in neutral barrels for a further 12 months, this Cabernet Franc is full of white pepper, savory red fruits, and earth-driven to its core. This is everything you want in a Cab Franc. It’s time to discover one of our favorite new producers in the Loire and his beautiful wines.