Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

MWG August 16th tasting: report (2/5)

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Next up, a flight of characterful organic/biodynamic Loire whites.

Fiefs Vendéens 2010, Les Clous, Domaine Saint-Nicolas ($19.50, 11688787)
Biodynamically farmed Chardonnay (45%), Chenin Blanc (45%) and Grolleau Gris (10%). Aged eight months, 80% in tank and 20% in oak barrels. 12.5% ABV.
Honey, apricot, pear, cardamom and a faint oxidative note. Fairly light-bodied despite the dense texture. More minerally than fruity on the attack. Turns lemony about halfway through, when the acidity also kicks in. Dry, quartzy finish. The bottle at the tasting seemed simpler – but no less likeable – than other bottles I’ve had of this. (Buy again? Yes.)

Touraine 2010, Cendrillon, Domaine de la Garrelière ($21.30, 10211397)
The estate’s website provides no information other than a picture of the label. A blend of biodynamically farmed Sauvignon Blanc (80%) and Chenin Blanc (20%); some retailers claim the junior partner isn’t Chenin Blanc but Chardonnay. A small fraction of the wine is reportedly barrel-aged;  again, it’s not clear what percentage or which grape variety (my guess is the Chenin). The cuvée’s name, French for Cinderella, refers to the winegrower’s practice of spraying the vines with a preparation of crystallized ashes made from burned vine clippings. 14% ABV.
Strong ash (!), faint lemon, pine needles. Dry and pure. The density of fruit is cut by firm acidity. Flavours tend to minerals and herbs, which turn bitter on the long finish. Leaves an overriding impression of austerity, which has its own appeal. (Buy again? Yes.)

Saumur 2010, Clos de Guichaux, Domaine Guiberteau ($24.25, 11461099)
100% Chenin Blanc from vines planted in 2003. Only sulphur, copper and plant-based decoctions are used in the vineyard; no sugar, commercial yeasts, enzymes  or stabilizers are used in the winery.  Lightly filtered after fermentation, then transferred to second, third and fourth vintage barrels for ten months’ aging on lees. Bottled with a minimum of sulphur dioxide. 13.5% ABV.
Spice, pear, quartz. Substantial and mouth-filling. Honeyed yellow stone fruit with an oxidative note and an acidic undertow. Long. Burnished and beautiful, the least eccentric wine of the flight. (Buy again? Yes.)

Savennières 2009, Les Vieux Clos, Nicolas Joly ($39.25, 10985878)
100% biodynamically farmed Chenin Blanc from 20-year-old vines in four parcels. Non-interventionist approach in the cellar involving long fermentation with native yeasts and aging in old oak barrels. 15% ABV.
Complex, faintly oxidized nose of silage, dried peach, dried herbs and alcohol (which isn’t to say it smelled hot). Structured, massive and somewhat monolithic but balanced in its big-boned way. Not fruity though there’s tons of extract, acidity and minerals. Long, saline, licorice-tinged finish. A wine to contend with. Revisit in five, ten, maybe 15 years (if drinking now, carafe up to 24 hours in advance). (Buy again? If in the mood for a powerhouse, yes.)

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Written by carswell

September 3, 2012 at 10:32

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