Matthieu and Bernard Baudry

New Releases from Domaine Bernard Baudry: 2018 "Les Grézeaux," 2018 "Cuvée Domaine," 2019 "Les Granges" and 2019 Rosé!

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2018 and 2019 were both exceptional years in the Loire Valley, fairly warm and dry and continuing the trend toward a bit more alcohol, but with surpising freshness and elegance. The best estates such as that of Matthieu and Bernard Baudry produced beautiful wines to drink young as well as brilliant wines to cellar for 20 to 30 years. Although each wine in today's email is exceptional in its own way, and is worth purchasing by the case where possible, we'd like to feature the extraordinary 2018 "Les Grezeaux" which is a wine that will bring great enjoyment in the near term and will be fascinating to follow during its long evolution.

First, a few words from the Baudrys regarding 2018: “Magnifique!"

"In 2018 winter and springtime were rather mild, with enough rainfall to recharge groundwater which was rather low after 2017. Unlike the two previous vintages there was no spring frost which, from a financial point of view, was quite a relief. Later on, from late May to early July, we had close to tropical weather. We had to treat repeatedly to prevent downy mildew, but unfortunately the disease destroyed a large proportion of bunches before véraison. Blooming was early again, as in 2017, and budbreak was rather promising. From then on, the summer was warm and dry with only 40mm rainfall between 20 July and mid-September. The vines nourished the grapes throughout the summer despite a mild dry spell, particularly on alluvial deposits. We had another very early harvest: the Chenins were picked as early as 12 September and the Cabernets around 18 September. Sugar levels were exceptionally high between 13 and 14.5% by volume and tartaric acid levels were also high. The 2018s are complete and expressive throughout the range, with magnificent balance, the richness in alcohol is contained by the wines’ freshness and a savoury finish. However, one thing is clear: the last 30 years (1988 - 2018), have seen temperatures rise by 1°C between March and September, and grapes have gained 3% alcoholic content while acidity dropped by 4g/L (H2SO4). Global warming is undeniable, grape harvest takes place earlier (1 to 2 weeks), and we regularly make wines with over 13% alcohol. This still has a good side, and favours the expression of Cabernet Franc but may be cause for concern for the future and for our planet…"

Les Grézeaux

One of the most pleasurable 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. The grapes are harvested by hand of course and fermented with wild yeasts with zero SO2 added during vinification. Beginning in 2017, the wine ages in large cement vats by Nico Velo, which provide good temperature control and micro-oxygenation. Les Grézeaux always has an elegant silky texture and wonderful freshness, making it delicious as a young wine, combined with the ability to age beautifully for 20 years and more in good vintages. (We tasted the assembled wine prior to bottling in January 2020) The 2018 is an astonishing wine showing a deep black/red color with slight reduction then bright  beautiful aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, violets and earth. The palate is silky and elegant with vibrant cassis and black raspberry fruit with a sensational finish of palate coating black fruits and minerals with perfect acidity and terrific length. In short a great vintage for Les Grézeaux that will drink beautifully at any point in its 20 - 25 year evolution. Chris Kissack, one of the leading writers on all things Loire, sums it up nicely: "This is a truly stunning Les Grézeaux, surely the best I have ever tasted. Great potential here, and a must-have for fans of Chinon and this domaine." I will be putting a case or two in my crawl-space, while making sure there is room for the 2018 Baudry "Domaine," "Le Clos Guillot," and "La Croix Boissée."

Matthieu & Pascaline Lepeltier in Saint-Louans

The Baudry "Cuvee Domaine" is near and dear to my heart, and not just because of the modest price. 75% of the blend is from a parcel in Saint-Louans, a spot where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, and which has been the source of some of my favorite Chinons, such as the legendary 1989 Clos du Parc de Saint-Louans of Louis Farou. 25%  of the blend is from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. This is a great combination, making the wine enjoyable to drink young but with the structure and minerality of the more "serious" terroir. The 2017, for example is delicious to drink now, the 2010 is really singing and the 1989... if you can find one, let me know. The 2018 Domaine is a bit unusual in that the fermentation finished with 1.7 gr/liter of residual sugar, still a dry wine but forcing them to filter, which the Baudrys never do. At any rate, the wine is sensational - floral and elegant with aromas of black raspberry liqueur; the palate shows high-toned ripe black fruits, with violet and stone and a very long ripe finish. Enjoy in its exuberant youth or hold for ten years and more as the terroir shines through. (The 2018 "Domaine" arrives in mid-June - there will be a good supply, but if you wish to pre-order, case sales only, please!)

Les Granges at left on alluvial soils

The 2019 "Les Granges" is from 30 to 35 year-old vines on gravel and sandy soils with a bit of clay near the Vienne river in organic agriculture. Hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, ages for 8 to 10 months in cement vats, minimal addition of SO2 only prior to bottling. This "basic" cuvée from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry has gotten more and more "serious" as the vines age, giving a wine that is  delightful to drink young, but that shows surprising complexity and mineral character as well. In the 2019 vintage, as with the 2018,  the wine is a sheer delight! Tasted at the domain in January 2020, the wine showed a deep black color  with bright purple rim with vibrant, lush aromas of cassis, blackberry and a bit of pepper, violet and cocoa. The palate is dense with deep sweet blackberry and raspberry fruit on the palate, with a hint of bitter chocolate, surprisingly bright and balanced given the extra ripeness of the vintage. This is a delicious Chinon to drink a bit cool over the next five to eight years - there should be a good quantity available but don't delay in trying this very special "basic" wine!

One of the cellars...

As always, the Baudry Chinon is one of the most elegant and delicious of all French rosés, a reflection of the superb organic vineyard work and the great terroir possesed by the Baudrys as well as their great talent in vinifications with minimal or zero added SO2. The 2019 Rosé compares with the 2018, ripe but well-balanced with gorgeous raspberry, strawberry and peach fruit with orange peel, backed by stone and mineral flavors and juicy acidity. Terrific length for a rosé - delicious now, this will drink beautifully over the next few years. 6 bottle maximum order, please.

Top of La Croix Boissée

A long time ago I asked a famous Vouvray producer what he thought of the Baudry's Chinon Blanc. He said: "The Baudrys make very good red wine." Regional rivalries aside, this famous grower now has to admit that the Baudrys make very good white wine as well. We've had the pleasure of drinking many vintages of the Baudry's Chenins, as aperitif and with dinner, and we can attest to their verstility with food, their silky texture and their crystalline minerality derived from the clay/limestone slopes. La Croix Boissée Blanc, from 15 to 25 year-old vines grown on pure stone at the top, most eroded part of this great vineyard, has become an extraordinary Chenin Blanc. The 2018 is simply superb, quantity is limited....

During our mad dash around France each winter, we visit as many wineries as possible but there are two cellars that particularly beckon to us each year, with the magic of tasting truly great wine with great vignerons - one is Domaine Pierre Gonon in Saint-Joseph, the other is Domaine Bernard Baudry in Chinon. Techniques vary slightly, due to cepage and terroir, but the underlying intelligence, ethic, hard work, and pride in quietly making the best wines possible are the same. (And there is no new oak in the cellars!) If you haven't experienced the wines of Matthieu and Bernard Baudry, now is the time!      

2019 Rosé, 2019 "Les Granges" and 2018 "Les Grézeaux" arrive 5/28 or 5/29 - please allow 5 additional days for processing and local delivery. 2018 "Cuvée Domaine" arrives in June, pre-arrival sales by the case only.

2018 harvest team at Domaine Baudry: Matthhieu 4th from right, Bernard third from right, bottom row

 

Baudry 2019 Chinon Les Granges

From 30 to 35 year-old vines on gravel and sandy soils with a bit of clay near the Vienne river in organic agriculture. Hand harvested, fermented with wild yeasts, ages for 8 to 10 months in cement vats, minimal addition of SO2 only prior to bottling. This "basic" cuvée from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry has gotten more and more "serious" as the vines age, giving a wine that is  delightful to drink young, but that shows surprising complexity and mineral character as well. In the 2019 vintage, as with the 2018,  the wine is a sheer delight! Tasted at the domain in January 2020, the wine showed a deep black color  with bright purple rim with vibrant, lush aromas of cassis, blackberry and a bit of pepper, violet and cocoa. The palate is dense with deep sweet blackberry and raspberry fruit on the palate, with a hint of bitter chocolate, surprisingly bright and balanced given the extra ripeness of the vintage. This is a delicious Chinon to drink a bit cool over the next five to eight years - there should be a good quantity available but don't delay in trying this very special "basic" wine!  David Lillie

  • red
  • 11 in stock
  • $22.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
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Baudry 2018 Chinon Domaine (Case of 12) Mid June

(Note: Arrives mid-June. Secure your wine and save a few dollars by pre-ordering by the case. $22.99 per btl on arrival)

The Baudry "Cuvee Domaine" is near and dear to my heart, and not just because of the modest price. 75% of the blend is from a parcel in Saint-Louans, a spot where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, and which has been the source of some of my favorite Chinons, such as the legendary Clos du Parc de Saint-Louans of Louis Farou. 25%  of the blend is from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. This is a great combination, making the wine enjoyable to drink young but with the structure and minerality of the more "serious" terroir. The 2017, for example is delicious to drink now, the 2010 is really singing and the 1989... if you can find one, let me know. The 2018 Domaine is a bit unusual in that the fermentation finished with 1.7 gr/liter of residual sugar, still a dry wine but forcing them to filter, which the Baudrys never do. At any rate, the wine is sensational - floral and elegant with aromas of black raspberry liqueur; the palate shows high-toned ripe black fruits, with violet and stone and a very long ripe finish. Enjoy in its exuberant youth or hold for ten years and more as the terroir shines through.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • no discount
  • $240.00

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Baudry 2018 Chinon Les Grézeaux

One of the most pleasurable 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. The grapes are harvested by hand of course and fermented with wild yeasts with zero SO2 added during vinification. Beginning in 2017, the wine ages in large cement vats by Nico Velo, which are slightly porous. Les Grézeaux always has an elegant silky texture and wonderful freshness, making it delicious as a young wine, combined with the ability to age beautifully for 20 years and more in good vintages. (Assembled wine tasted in January 2020) The 2018 is an astonishing wine showing a deep black/red color with slight reduction then bright  beautiful aromas of black raspberry, blackberry, violets and earth. The palate is silky and elegant with vibrant cassis and black raspberry fruit with a sensational finish of palate coating black fruits and minerals with perfect acidity and terrific length. In short a great vintage for Les Grézeaux that will drink beautifully at any point in its 20 - 25 year evolution. Chris Kissack, one of the leading writers on all things Loire, sums it up nicely: "This is a truly stunning Les Grézeaux, surely the best I have ever tasted. Great potential here, and a must-have for fans of Chinon and this domaine." I will be putting a case or two in my crawl-space, while making sure there is room for the 2018 Baudry "Domaine," "Le Clos Guillot," and "La Croix Boissée."  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Baudry 2018 Chinon Blanc

The 2018 Baudry Blanc "Domaine" is from 5 to 15 year-old vines in several parcels on the clay/limestone slopes in and around Cravant. The grapes are hand-harvested of course and ferment with wild yeasts in 500 liter oak barrels. This is the best vintage we have tasted of the "Domaine" blanc, showing a bright pale gold/bronze color, with floral, chalky aromas of almond and pear. The chalk returns on the palate with bright citrus and white fruits, a supple, silky texture and good length. Lovely wne.  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $31.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Baudry 2018 Chinon La Croix Boissée Blanc

The 2018 Baudry "La Croix Boissée" Blanc is a superb glass of Chenin Banc! From 15 - 25 year-old vines at the top of the south-facing  vineyard where the eroded limestone is barely covered with silica. The 2018 took one year to finsh fermentation in 500 liter barrels, the malo was done. The wine shows elegant, complex armas of chalk, citrus, quince, and stone; the palate is silky and cristalline with citrus, quince, pear, white peach and saline mineral flavors, finishing with terrific length and lingering hints of citrus, almond and stone. This belongs with the top dry Vouvrays and Anjou Secs - it's a unique and delicous expression of Chenin!  David Lillie

  • Out of Stock
  • white
  • 0 in stock
  • $45.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur