Wine sourcing can be like treasure hunting sometimes, you never know what surprises will come your way. Back in February, when trying to pick out a good Champagne to drink at a restaurant in Saumur, the chef-owner put a bottle on our table and declared: "This is what you want. Trust me." The wine turned out to be the most memorable of the night, and there were very many good bottles that night. Jacques-Antoine Toublanc was the winemaker, and his Crémant de Loire 2014 the wine.
Toublanc, a Saumur native, received his enology degree in Bordeaux in the mid-'80s, then spent the next two decades or so working in Saumur before going on a seven-year stint in Chile. A couple of years ago, having been a long-time friend of and consultant to the Foucault Brothers, Jacques-Antoine was asked to take over winemaking at the fabled Clos Rougeard after the passing of Charly Foucault. In many ways, especially to us outside of the Garden of France, Jacques-Antoine is a master of the Loire, hidden in plain sight.
Now back to the Crémant de Loire – the surprise treasure. All sparkling wines Jacques-Antoine makes go through secondary fermentation and spend at least three years on the lees – no short-cuts, proper vintage Champagne standards. The precision, opulence, and taste of the crémant rival some of the best grower Champagnes, indicative of Jacques-Antoine's winemaking approach and quality. 
With over three decades of experience, Jacques-Antoine has seen it all and is now carefully choosing grapes from his famous friends, making wine for himself and putting his own ideas into the bottles.