Nicolas Joly is one of the greatest exponents of biodynamics and natural wine making. He took over his families Loire Estate in 1977 and has made them a quality leader. Especially the Coulee de Serrant vineyard which is the definitive Savennieres site. It is so good the 7ha monopole was given its own appellation.
I’ve found these wines need time and air. And to be perfectly honest, I think they can look unremarkable when young. It is the magic of aging that makes all the difference. I don’t offer them on the site often, just to customers who I know will understand the experience. I had the 2002 as you saw and it was changing and evolving in the glass. Previously I’ve tried a 1997 and a 1980 which challenged my dinner guests but there is something to the wines that is for sure.
“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.