August 27, 2015
Essential Loire: Chenin Blanc
Chenin Blanc is one of the great unsung grape varieties, capable of producing stunning wines of world-class caliber, and the Loire Valley produces wine from this grape in a dizzying array of styles. Sparkling, bone-dry, off-dry, sweet and sweeter. In our third Coravin Essentials webinar we review the styles and taste three of the greats. It would be an error, however, to believe that the story ends there. The list that follows will clue you in to a variety of superstar producers, both known and less-known, although each of them in their way is very special. A special word of advice: don’t stop with the bottlings on this list – when we recommend Huet Clos du Bourg, for example, all of the bottlings from sec to demi-sec to moelleux to moelleux première trie (first selection) are all worth a look.
* Vouvray, Domaine Huet (The top bottling is the Clos du Bourg, but also try Le Mont and Haut Lieu bottlings from Huet, and their very special Cuvée Constance which is a blend of the best of all three in particularly good years. Produced in a range of sweetness levels, there is also a sparkling version)
* Vouvray, Domaine du Clos Naudin (Produced by Philippe Foreau; Superb Vouvrays produced in a range of sweetness levels, there is also a vintage and a non-vintage sparkling versions).
* Vouvray, Vincent Carême (This young producer makes a full range of styles, including “pet nat” or naturally sparkling that bottles the wine prior to the end of the alcoholic fermentation for a slightly sweet, slightly sparkling allure).
* Montlouis, Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (Jacky Blot is one of the idiosyncratic leaders of the appellation. Look for the Rémus and Rémus Plus bottlings from a selection of top sites and old vines).
* Coteaux du Layon, Moulin Touchais (A legendary old-school producer in this appellation with many old wines available in the market that show the ability of Chenin for 80 years or more).
* Savennières, Nicolas Joly (the top wine of this biodynamic producer is the legendary Coulée de Serrant bottling, but do not overlook the Clos de la Bergerie or Les Vieux Clos, called Les Clos Sacrés in the U.S.)
* Domaine des Baumards (Baumards is known for the Quarts de Chaume that we will taste together as well as their excellent Savennières Clos du Papillon and Côteaux du Layon)
* Château Pierre-Bise (Based in the heart of the Côteaux du Layon, Pierre-Bise produces an array of terroir-driven bottlings in this appellation and a superb Savennières)
* Anjou, Ferme de la Sansonnière (the top bottling here is the Anjou La Lune ; made within the limits of Bonnezeaux AC, it is denied the appellation because it is not sweet. Definitely a wine to seek out).
* Jasnières, Domaine Bellivière (a range from dry to sweet in both Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir, two overlooked appellations that bear investigating).
Join us for a live webinar featuring Loire Whites: Chenin Blanc hosted by Charles Curtis MW on Thursday August 27th at 6:30 pm EST. Register now!