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It's no secret that we love the wines of Domaine Bernard Baudry in Chinon. Our relationship goes back to the great 1989 vintage, when I was lucky enough to be contacted by an American ex-basketball player (seven-feet tall!) who had married a French woman, and then decided to try his hand at exporting wine. He didn't appear to know anything about wine, he just wanted to "move boxes," and somehow the beautiful 1989 Baudry Chinons wound up at Garnet Wines. I have a few customers from back then who have held on to some bottles of 1989 Les Grezeaux - they're very happy! Knowing the Baudrys, drinking their wine with regularity and watching Matthieu grow up to become a great partner to his father has been a wonderful experience. Not to mention enjoying Henriette's cooking, especially her Crapaudine salad! What separates Domaine Baudry from others in the region is an esthetic of wine production and the intelligence and work ethic to apply it to all aspects of winemaking, from impeccable organic farming to the careful vinifications without extraction and the perfect elevage technique for each wine. In the case of Le Clos Guillot and La Croix Boissee this means aging in carefully chosen used barrels, never new, and unlined cement vats. The work of the Baudrys is strikingly similar to that of Pierre and Jean Gonon in Saint-Joseph and the results are similar as well.
Which finally brings us to the last release of the excellent 2016 vintage, Le Clos Guillot, a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permitted a tiny separate production from franc de pied vines, now mostly deceased) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barriques, 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. While the 2017 is also very good, the three vintages 2014 - 2016 are exceptional, with the 2016s, from a difficult low-yielding vintage, being perhaps the best for long-term aging. "2016 ends up being a surprising vintage, with amazing quality in the wines, thanks to a beautiful late growing season. The wines are appealing, with primary aromas of raspberry, red fruit and spices. All our cuvées have a ripe character, but also show astonishing freshness and fruitiness: they remind us of beautiful 2002 vintage." I wouild say that the 2016s have a bit more density and structure than the 2002s, which makes them very good indeed.
Delivery was expected June 3rd, arrival date for Le Clos Guillot is now July 1st. We have added Baudry 2017s and other Loire favorites from current inventory that are available for immediate delivery, featring the superb dry Chenin Blancs from Sebastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue in Jasnières, and the beautiful Rosé from Domaine Olga Raffault. David Lillie
Le Clos Guillot is a beautiful south-east facing vineyard, just east of the town of Chinon, above the Clos de l'Olive and adjacent to Le Chêne Vert. The upper slope of the parcel is clay over limestone (the lower part has sand and gravel over the rock, which permits a tiny production from franc de pied vines) and the vines are young, planted from 1993 to 2000. Fermentation in wooden cuves, 12 months of aging in two to five year-old barrels (most purchased in Burgundy and untreated with sulfur), 9 additional months in unlined cement vats. We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. In the low-yielding 2016 vintage Le Clos Guillot is particulary elegant and age-worthy, showing floral aromas of Italian plum, black cherry and blackberry. The palate is perfectly balanced, dense and deep but not fat with elegant chalky black fruit and mineral flavors that continue in the very long finish. A bottle opened a day before showed more complex, floral aromas, but a tighter palate - of course this wine can be enjoyed young but peak drinking will be 2027 - 2045+. Given the reasonable price, this belongs in your cellar! (Normal case discounts apply) Another Bravo! to Matthieu and Bernard Baudry... David Lillie
The lovely 2017 Chinon "Cuvee Domaine" from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry is all Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks. Tasted from barrel in February of 2019 the wine was quite pretty showing lovely pure red fruit aromas with a supple, ripe palate, very deep and long and framed in perfect earthy acidity. The palate is fresh and balanced with pretty red fruits, earth and citrus notes, really long and lovely. This will be a superb and unique Chinon, both to drink young and for cellaring of fifteen to twenty years. Serve cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses. Highly recommended. DL
We're big fans of the Caslot family at Domane de la Chevalerie, who make soulful Bourgueils from organic vineyards on their varied terroirs. The Chevalerie vineyard is on mid-slope Turonian limestone with clay and alluvial sand and gravel topsoils, rich in silex; the vines average about 60 years of age. The 2014 vintage in Bourgueil and Chinon is excellent and the 14s at Domaine de la Chevalerie are absolutely superb! This wine is a fabulous mix of fruit and minerals, perfectly balanced and with terrific length: dense black/red color, with aromas that blend soil, stone and black-raspberry fruit with hints of cocoa and violet. The palate is dense and supple and intensely mineral - a blend of stone and cool red fruits lifted by firm acidity, with the bright fruit continuing in the long mineral finish. This is a beautiful Bourgueil that can be enjoyed now with roast chicken, pork dishes, even a steak - or hold for ten to fifteen years for a mature experience. It's a faulous value at $19.99 - congratulations to the Caslots! David Lillie
This is a beautiful Chenin Blanc from Sébastien Cornille at Domaine de la Roche Bleue, from 30 year-old vines on slopes and terraces of clay and silex over limestone, certified organic farming with biodynamic methods. The 2017 L'Orée de la Berterie shows lovely ripe aromas - peach, pear, and kiwi with almond, honeysuckle, lime-flower and mineral notes. Dried peach and pear, citrus peel, stone and herbal notes on the palate with terrific density and a quite firm citrus and mineral finish. This is an outstanding and mineral young Chenin that will open up over the next three to five years, and might be quite interesting at ten to fifteen years or age - it's a superb value as well. Serve with ceviche of fluke, fish in sauce, roast chicken and mild cheeses. DL
100% Chenin Blanc, from 10 - 30 year-old vines on slopes of clay/silex soils on limestone, certified organic. Slow pressing of whole clusters; long fermentations, most in 4 to 6 year-old barriques, the younger vines in cuve inox; elevage in 6 year-old barrels. The Roche Bleue 2017 Jasnières Sec shows pale bronze color with beautiful aromas of pear, lime-flower, quince and honeysuckle with hints of chalky stone, anise and citrus peel. The palate seems light in body but is quite intense with dried pear, anise , bitter lemon and saline, chalky minerals that continue in the long finish with firm citrusy acids. This is a crystalline, complex dry Jasnières that will benefit from decanting and should age well for ten to fifteen years. Serve now with shellfish, grilled fish, roast chicken and goat cheeses or age to serve with richer dishes. Lovely wine! DL
The Olga Raffault Chinon rosé has gotten better and better over the past few years, perhaps it's their move towards organic farming and the fine work of Sylvie Raffault and her husband Eric de la Vigerie. 100% Cabernet Franc, 10-hour maceration and slow wild-yeast fermentation. The 2018 is round and ripe and simply delicious, quite crisp and refreshing showing lovely bright pink color, hints of raspberry and strawberry fruit, ripe but dry and balanced on the palate with a bit of peach and red berries in the finish with bright saline acidity. "Particulièrement gouleyant" it says on the label and we couldn't agree more!
One of the great red wines of the Loire Valley, the Baudry Chinon Les Grézeaux is from a unique parcel of old vines near the bottom of the slope in Sonnay (near Cravant-les-Coteaux) on a bed of gravel over a base of clay, sand and limestone. (Harvested by hand, fermented with wild yeasts and aged in 3 to 5 year-old casks.) Les Grézeaux always has an elegant silky texture and wonderful freshness, combined with the ability to age beautifully in good vintages. While not as big as 2015 and 2016, the 2017s at Baudry have wonderful purity and freshness in a medium-bodied frame that accentuates the beauty of the fruit and the underlying minerality. The 2017 Les Grézeaux has lovely raspberry and strawberry fruit with earth, musk and spice. Pretty floral red fruits on the palate with vibrant acidity framed by flavors of graphite and stone. Becomes deeper and velvety with a few days open — really a lovely blend of fruit and terroir with nice balance. Enjoy it now or in 10 to 15 years...DL