Domaine du Bel Air (Pierre et Rodolphe Gauthier), Bourgueil, Les Marsaules, 2017
Absolutely typical, so quintessential that I almost wish it would surprise me more, but thankfully, it makes up for any deficiency by being so damn tasty and vibrant! It has lead pencil, beautiful red fruit, an abundance of fine tannins that cleanse the palate and then get out of the way, but not before fanning the fruit out on the long finish. (Aug. 4, 2022)
Even moreso than Pinot Noir in Burgundy, Riesling in the Mosel and Syrah in the North Rhone - Loire Chenin Blanc is a pillar rising above the landscape of its international peer group.
Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Clos Michet, 2019
I was totally smitten by this Montlouis' producer's Vouvray (the amazing Bretonnière, which AOC law forces the domain to bottle as a Vin de France). This continues the stylistic vein I noticed about the Bretonnière, as it showcases the intrinsic contradictions of Chenin Blanc. The nose oscillates between ripe, honeyed apples, quince and river pebbles and hot water springs. The palate is a master class of balance, the ripeness of the fruit perfectly complemented by integrated acidity. A long finish that melds suggestions of sweetness with a dash of white pepper. (Aug. 8, 2022)
Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Triple Zero, n.v.
I don't really understand how this wine is made. It's a petnat, that is a petillant naturel, and the Michael Skurnik site says that there is one long fermentation done with indigenous yeasts. It has a the feel of a Champagne, methode classique, however you wish to term it, but because Chenin has a honeyed aspect even when totally dry, the end result is different. Which might just prove that grape and terroir trounce manipulation - or that, in the proper hands, the hands of a master of the variety in this case, the process respects grape and terroir more than we realize. In common with Champagne, I find brioche, chalk, apples and pears on the nose. Then, on top of that, I spot apricots. The palate is just a tad rounder that a Champagne, not sweeter or riper, just rounder - despite zero additions of sugar at any stage of the process. The nose suggests a hedonistic ripeness that the palate pulls away from. The discrepancy is lovely, really, and creates a continual give and take with the senses as the wine develops. (Aug. 20, 2022)