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In January of 2020, a few days after a sensational tasting with Jean Gonon in Mauves, we had a similarly trascendental experience in the long tunnel carved into the limestone at Domaine Bernard Baudry in Chinon. This estate has always produced excellent wine but recent vintages from Bernard and Matthieu have seemd to reach a new level of artistry and elegance. With superb organic farming and precise vinifications tailored to each terroir, the results in the excellent 2018 and 2019 vintages were simply fabulous. The wines have a gorgeous texture, aromatic beauty and a complexity on the palate that is setting them apart from other wines in the region. "We don't really extract any more" says Matthieu, "and we're using little or no sulfur," - and there is no new oak in the cellar!
Which brings us to the 2020 Baudry Chinon Rosé, which has become one of the most sought after rosés of France. But it's just a rosé, you might say... well no, it's not "just a rosé," it's a wonderfully subtle, silky-textured and perfectly balanced wine that captures the summer light of the Loire with beautiful organic farming, great terroir and perfect hands-off vinification with minimal sulfur. In other words, it's really delicious. Matthieu Baudry's report on the 2020 Rosé: "Rosé 2020 looks like his older brothers, but the fermentation was much quicker than the 2018 and 2019. The Rosé 2020 is very dry: 1.2g/L RS versus 2.2 for the 2018 vinrage. For me the flavors are more delicate and I prefer the balance of the 2020 over the 2018/19 which were more exotic."
$21.99, less 10% if part of a 12-bottle purchase, 6 btl max please. (Mid-May arrival)
For those of you who missed the sensational 2018 Baudry Chinon "Les Grezeaux," a few cases of magnums have just arrived - don't miss this chance to cellar a truly exceptional Chinon in large format!
Another testament to the artistry of Domain Baudry is their 2018 Le Clos Guillot - We have been buying this wine since it's first production in 2000 – it's one of the most elegant and Burgundian of Chinons. It's become incrreasingly difficult to write superlatives about this wine, as each vintage since 2014 has been superb in it's own way. And now 2018, a vintage the Baudrys describe as "magnificent!" Here the more traditional light raspberry/strawberry aromatics are enhanced by darker fruits: blackberry, black raspberry and boysenberry with violet and earth, that remain vibrant and bright. The color is deep black with a purple rim. The palate shows sensational purity, freshness and elegance with a fabulous dense, silky, calcaire texture and fabulous length of pure black fruits and minerals. While this wine is amazingly delicious now, it should be very interesting with 15 to 20+ years of cellaring as well. Highly recommended!
And speaking of the great Baudry 2018s, our current stock is the last few cases of the very delicious 2018 Cuvée Domaine. Enjoy in its exuberant youth or hold for ten years and more (my 2010s are drinkng sensationally now), don't delay...
The beautiful Baudry Chinon Rosé is 100% Cabernet Franc, usually 50% from clay/silex soils and 50% from gravel soils, as in "les Grézeaux." As always this 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 skill in vinifications with minimal added SO2. Matthieu Baudry's report on the 2020 Rose: "Rose 2020 looks like his older brothers, but the fermentation was much quicker than the 2018 and 2019. The Rosé 2020 is very dry: 1.2g/L RS versus 2.2 for the 2018 vintage. For me the flavors are more delicate and I prefer the balance of the 2020 over the 2018/19 which were more exotic." 6 bottle maximum, please.
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
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
(Our last few cases arrive on Tuesday, 10/12/21) 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 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 three to ten 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. It's become incrreasingly difficult to write superlatives about this wine, as each vintage since 2014 has been superb in it's own way. And now 2018, a vintage the Baudrys describe as "magnificent!" The ripeness of fruit in this vintage diplays a different side of Cabernet Franc with the more traditional light raspberry/strawberry aromatics enhanced by darker fruits: blackberry, black raspberry and boysenberry with violet and earth, that remain vibrant and bright. The color is deep black with a purple rim. The palate shows sensational purity, freshness and elegance with a fabulous dense, silky, calcaire texture and fabulous length of pure black fruits and minerals. While this wine is amazingly delicious now, it should be very interesting with long cellaring as well. Highly recommended! David Lillie