Dating back to 1070 however records of producing wine are found in the 1870’s when purchased by the Boivin family. Occupying the highest part of the appellation with the perfect exposition, south/south west located next to the Layon river creating the magical arena for the onset of Botrytis each year. Fesles own 25 hectares of a total 100 designated by the INAO for the production of Bonnezeaux, of which they use approximately 16 for their dry Chenin Blanc.
Named the “d’Yquem of the Loire Valley” along with Parker commenting that “This wine should have its own appellation” does justice to one of the world’s greatest sweet wines. On average the cuvee consists of 90% botrytized Chenin with the rest coming from ‘Passerillage’, the method of leaving the grapes on the vine to raison and concentrate the sugars. Fermented in Acacia barrels (this promotes micro-oxygenation to soften the natural bitterness of the Chenin) then aged for 12 to 15 months.
2010 yields were down all over France and Bonnezeaux was no exception. Super concentrated. 165g residual sugar but highest acid (5.7g/l) of the four wines = amazing longevity. Jean Savion, Fesles winemaker predicts over 20 years aging potential which given the amazing notes/scores of the museum releases seems likely. Brilliant golden shades and rich viscosity frame the appearance. Honeycomb, brown sugar, pineapple and light fresh tropical fruits draw the nose in. The sheer depth commands attention. The sweetness washes over the palate, saturating the senses, and yet the acidity dances across the palate, keeping a certain lightness, elegance, and delicacy to the wine.
Can any white wine rival Loire Valley Chenin Blanc for elegance, grace and poise in the cellar? Definitely some Rieslings would give it a run but not much else. Chenin, whether sweet or dry, produces wines with a lovely balance of taut, unrelenting acidity and pillowy soft fruit that sits on top. The best wines, think Savennières, Vouvray and Montlouis, can age for a surprisingly long time (25, 50, 100 years even). Only surprising due to the amazing balance the best producers can find in the wine. Then you get stuck into the stunning sparkling wines that are such great value too and the reds from Cabernet Franc that will make lovers of Burgundy or Bordeaux swoon.
may not be the most popular or the most famous wine grape, but the good examples are seriously good! Lovely, fleshy/flowery apples and pears, a nice mineral – flinty streak, lemon zest and a touch of dough. I have always described good Chenin as feeling pillowy and I stand by that. Round and fluffy mouth feel but the zesty acid kicks it into shape.