Saumur winery decision written on the wall at Clos Cristal

Monday April 02 2018 by Vitisphere

Listed as a historic monument, Clos Cristal is the visionary work of Antoine Cristal, who bequeathed it to Saumur hospital upon his death in 1931.Listed as a historic monument, Clos Cristal is the visionary work of Antoine Cristal, who bequeathed it to Saumur hospital upon his death in 1931. - Photo credit : Cave Robert et Marcel

An iconic estate in the Loire Valley, Clos Cristal is preparing to rise from the ashes. The owner of the 10-hectare vineyard in Saumur-Champigny, Saumur hospital, has just tasked the Robert et Marcel co-operative winery (formerly the Saumur co-operative) with farming the vineyard for the next 25 years. The signing of the long-term lease ends a period of strategic uncertainty, following the compulsory liquidation of the Institut Clos Cristal association in 2016. The estate was then run by the winegrower Éric Dubois, whose management was put to the test by a series of frosts and financial difficulties.

After stepping in to take over the vineyard in 2016, the Robert et Marcel winery intends to make Clos Cristal its quality flagship. The co-operative plans to invest 1.3 million euros over the next five years in restructuring the Cabernet Franc vineyard. This will require great sensitivity because the walled vineyard has three kilometres of unique tufa walls which the vine uses as a support. “Vines take advantage of the heat stored by the stones, promoting ripeness in the grapes and giving them a specific microclimate” explains a press release by the Robert et Marcel co-operative.

Wine tourism

This unique technique for wine growing will be put to good use by the co-operative, which plans to develop tourist activities around the Clos next year. Along similar lines to the Hospices de Beaune, charity auctions are also being considered. The Robert et Marcel winery has founded a dedicated company to produce and market Clos Cristal wines, thereby emphasising its intention of running the property independently. The winery has also recruited François Robichon who will be charged with managing the property.

 

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