Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Domaine Bernard Baudry In Israel


Whoever at WineRoute had the bright notion of importing Baudry to Israel deserves a raise.

There are various sources of interesting wines at reasonable prices, but few can match the Loire for the thrills and bargains offered by Muscadets, Chenin Blancs and two Cabernet Sauvignon progenitor: Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. Of the four, I'd expect Chenin to scale to the loftiest, while I believe (based on my limited personal experience, but on a lot of reading up) that Cabernet Franc should be the most facile in mirroring and exposing the nuances of terroir. At the right hands, it should be light, yet structured, supple and clear, espousing nuances in lieu of power. Certainly every sample I've had so far was tasty, a fine food pairing and a wine of focus and detailed delineation.

DomaineHureau, recently, was where I crossed the line between like and love, but there were foreshadows: Breton, and, earlier, Baudry himself. So I was primed and welcomed the latest acquirement in the WineRoute portfolio with open arms and palate.

Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon, 2010

Surprisingly, this isn't the domaine's entry level red, despite the generic label - "Les Granges" is, and you can read more about the range here, in their US importer's site. This offers a whole lotta wine for the price (unless, that is, you're expecting a dense, modern, crowd-pleasing brute). The nose has fresh, bright fruit, embellished by pencil shavings and enough pungent earthiness to let me know I'm back home in the Old World. The palate is savory and on the long side, lean and focused, with bright acidity and balanced tannins. (May 17, 2013)

85 NIS, which is peanuts for the effect it has on the taste buds, as well as the complexity and character it has to offer.

Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon, Le Clos Guillot, 2010

This, unlike the estate bottling, is a single vineyard bottling. It's more of the same, presumably better, certainly weightier and darker, and, while already more complex, seems to hold more in reserve. Beyond a lovely, sanguine finish, there's also an earthy, almost leathery overlay that develops nicely in time and I feel it bodes well for the wine's development with some mid-term cellaring (cellaring I'd personally insist on). (May 25, 2013)

120 NIS.

Having whetted my appetite for Cabernet Franc, I ordered a couple of bottles of the Baudry "Grand Cru", La Croix Boisses. While waiting to pick them up, I explored one of my Loire purchases from the recent family vacation in France.

Langlois-Chateau, Saumur-Champigny, Vieilles Vignes, 2009

2009 is a reputed to be a great Loire vintage, as good as its counterparts in Bordeaux and Burgundy. Langlois-Chateau specializes in Cremant (sparkling Chenin for those not in the know), so intuitively I had this red wine slated to be opened rather earlier than my other buys. At this point - chalk it up to either winemaker, vintage or terroir - this Samaur-Champignys has a less immediate charm than the Baudrys (or Hureau for that matter), not to mention a kiss of spicy oak that's obvious after a couple of hours. It's an earthier wine, playing Pommard to Baudry's Volnay; more severely structured where the Baudrys seemed to work out the considerations of structure with well-practiced complacency belying their craft. It's a good wine, albeit on the extracted side for the variety and AOC in my opinion. There are notes of tobacco, black pepper and iron complementing the red fruit (fruit that only turns blacker with air), as well as savory tannins and juicy acidity promising a somewhat longer fridge life than the one this bottle lived. (May 31, 2013)

20 Euros.

My anticipation was at fever pitch by now.

Domaine Bernard Baudry, Chinon, La Croix Boissée, 2010

This plays Grand Cru to the Clos Guillot's Premier Cru, even though learning to apply those designations to the Loire is an acquired skill and taste that I have not yet mastered (and the differences are much more subtle than in Bourgogne). The color is deeper, the nose and palate have an extra dimension (the bouquet especially is the loveliest of all the wines featured in this post), and the additional body does not come at the cost of any loss in acidity. What else have we here? Crushed raspberries with the tangy pungency I mentally peg as "tobacco leaves". Savory tannins that rasp and dry and need taming time. A saline finish. Work in progress. (Jun. 8, 2013)

150 NIS.

1 comment:

Dima said...

I wish I could share your excitement about Baudry. Maybe these were two bad bottles in a row, but what a chance? Both of the bottles of the simple 85 NIS Chinon were tainted with very strong tobacco smell followed by matching taste. Very disturbing. Maybe it was travel shock, but it all went into the sink.