The Baumard wines are superstars. What they do with Savennieres is a level above. Sure you can find Nicolas Joly wines for double or triple the price, but Baumard have a charm that is endearing. A lot of Savennieres can be dry, boney, mineral and have a bit of ‘ugly duckling syndrome’. It would appear that Baumard allows the grapes to achieve just a slightly higher ripeness so the fruit sings above all of the amazing characters below.
The grapes for the Trie Speciale are a selection from the Clos Ste Yves. It is individual picks of richer fruit, which includes grapes in the intermediate stage of the noble rot process. Overripe grapes not yet withered but rather purple in colour. This wine has always been opulent but dry. Weighty in the mouth, succulent, with a razor’s edge of acidity on the finish. There are yellow orchard fruits, stony mineral notes, flint, floral characters. There is a lot going on. With age, some nutty, caramel, honey and toast has crept in.
I really love what Baumard do. Clean, minerally and fine wines with a great core of pure fruit. I have tasted a few older bottles and they really sing. Andrew Jefford is quite effusive when describing these wines in ‘The New France’ and I completely agree with him. As you go up in price you get more ‘stuffing’ in the wines and more aging potential. Having said that, even the entry-level Clos St Yves is very impressive. They are very well priced for the quality in my opinion.
“Savennières makes the ultimate dry Chenin Blanc…. It is, I think, the most cerebral wine in the world. When fully mature, it is breathtaking. All about majesty, the wine spreads across the palate like cream, revealing glimpses of flavor like an ever-changing landscape, a bale of hay, a whiff of chamomile, a basket of dried flowers, honey blended with quince and apricot or peach, the sting of citrus zests, a sonorous wave of minerals. Simultaneously taut and lyrical, bone-dry yet marrowy, it is a stroll along steep slate hillsides with Chenin. A wine of discovery, of reflection, Savennières is not for the uninitiated.” Jacqueline Friedrich, A Wine and Food Guide to The Loire.
“AOC Savennières (together with its AOC crus …) is the only place in the Loire Valley where dry Chenin can genuinely rival Montrachet and Corton Charlemagne.” Andrew Jefford, The New France.
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.
Chenin Blanc 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.