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MWG February 21st tasting (4/8): Two out-there Chenins

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Saumur 2011, Château Yvonne ($24.55, 10689665)
100% organically farmed Chenin Blanc. Fermented with native yeasts, matured in oak barrels, unfiltered and unfined. 13.5% ABV.
Complex if somewhat inscrutable nose: quince, spice, minerals, chalk… Rich and slightly oxidized with honey overtones. The winey texture is lightened by underlying acidity, which also balances out the welcome hint of residual sugar. The kaleidoscopic array of flavours includes spiced pear, passion fruit and pineapple. Long, burned mineral finish. Approachable now though no harm will come from a couple more years in the cellar. (Buy again? Of course.)

VDP de l’Aveyron 2011, La Selve, Nicolas Carmarans ($32, Glou, NLA)
The former owner of a Paris wine bar, Nicolas Carmarans followed his roots back to the Aveyron region, on the Lot River in the Massif central, upstream from Cahors, to make wine in 2007. A natural approach is favoured. This 100% Chenin Blanc from 30-year-old vines is fermented (with native yeasts) in vats and matured in casks. Undergoes malolactic fermentation. If sulphur is added, it is in miniscule amounts and only at bottling. 12% ABV.
“Sharp, pear, steel,” said one taster of the intriguing nose, which also has a sour edge. “Whisky barrel,” said another of the palate, though if so it took a back seat to the oxidized – some said “rotting” – apple. There’s lots of rocky minerals and coursing acidity too. Long, dry finish. Serious and, yes, a little weird. I, of course, loved it. Was shocked to see it clocked it at 12%; I’d been expecting 14% or 15%, not because it was hot or alcoholic but because of the impression of power it gave. It all adds up to an authentically rustic Chenin unlike any other I’ve encountered. (Buy again? Oh, yes.)

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Written by carswell

March 6, 2013 at 11:42

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