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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 individuality, even in the difficult conditions of 2013. With superb organic farming and precise vinifications tailored to each terroir, the results in the excellent 2014 and 2015 vintages are simply fabulous. The wines have a silky 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!
Our tasting began with the 2015 Chinon Rosé, which is insanely delicious! More elegant, pure and complex than the 2014 (which went through a long, difficult fermentation) this is a light and lovely wine that will be a great and simple pleasure to drink over the next two years.
After a very promising growing season in 2015, there was some rain during the harvest of Cabernet Franc in the Chinon area, which will lead to softer but still excellent wines. 2014 was a bit the opposite, with a difficult mid-summer followed by perfect weather late in the season, leading to the superb quality of this vintage at Domaine Baudry. Certainly one of the best "Les Grézeaux" ever made, the 2014 has beautiful fruit, perfect balance and enough structure for long-term aging. This unique vineyard, on a bed of gravel over limestone, suffers from drought or excess rains and needs alternating periods of dry and wet weather followed by sunshine, exactly as in 2014. The 2014 "Les Grézeaux" is an outstanding wine that will drink well young and will age well for 20 years and more!
"La Croix Boissée," a beautiful hillside vineyard of clay soils over limestone, produces the Baudry's best wine. In the cool and difficult 2013 vintage Matthieu and Bernard managed to produce an elegant wine in a lighter style that should age beautifully. It shows lovely aromas of floral berry fruit with a very saline, mineral palate with terrific length. "Ca pinotte," said Bernard, and in fact it's a very Burgundian Chinon that should be superb when mature. Also included in today's email are the delicious 2014 "Les Granges," from vines in sand and gravel soils near the Vienne, a soft and lovely Chinon to drink young; the very earthy and complex 2013 Chinon "Domaine," primarily from clay/limestone parcels in Saint-Louans; and the beautiful 2014 "La Croix Boissée" Blanc - a unique and delicious expression of Chenin Blanc from this superb vineyard!
(Tasted before bottling in February.) The 2015 Baudry Chinon Rosé is abolutely delicious and is perhaps the best they have made in many years. With subtle wild-stawberry and raspberry aromas and a complex, light, bright, scintillating palate, this is a refreshing and stimulating complement to any light summer cuisine. 100% Cabernet Franc, organic farming, wild yeast fermentation and minimal added sulfur - this is a beautiful "natural" rosé from one of the finest estates in the Loire Valley.
(Tasted in January 2016) From 50 to 60 year-old Cabernet Franc vines on a gravel soil over sandy clay and limestone at the bottom of the hill of Sonnay in Cravant. Aged 12 months in 3 to 5 year-old barrels. The 2014 is certainly one of the greatest "les Grézeaux" from this wonderful estate! Beautiful deep red/black color, lush, complex palate of ripe dark fruit with perfect balance and fabulous length, with cool acidity lifting the fruit. As always the "les Grézeaux" is enjoyable young as the gravel soil gives a wine with a silky texture, but it ages beautifully as well, as anyone with the 1989 can tell you. This is a must for any lover of Chinon!
From young and old vines in a superb south-facing hillside vineyard of thin clay over limestone soils in Cravant. 24 months of aging in 2 to 4 year-old barriques. The difficult vintage of 2013 gave very low yields and less alcohol than usual, but the 2013 Croix Boissée is a superb, elegant Chinon that will age well and resembles a light, old fashioned Burgundy. The aromas are lovely and very floral with raspberry and red currant fruit. The palate is extremely mineral, not fat but with pretty red fruit, spice and earthy flavors over firm acidity. Given the vintage, this is an astonishingly good Chinon, but not exactly a fruit-bomb, that should be superb when mature, perhaps 2025 to 2035, and delicious young for those who appreciate more terroir than fruit in their Chinon.
We love the Baudry’s wines year after year! 2014 started off as a worrisome vintage weather-wise up until the beginning of August, but with a favorable end to the growing season and ideal harvest conditions, the resulting wines are now simply singing. Les Granges hails from a parcel of young-ish Cabernet Franc vines (approximately 25 years-old) planted along the riverbank of the Vienne in alluvial and gravelly soils. It is vinified in concrete vats before spending seven months in neutral oak barrels giving the finished wine rustic yet fresh aromas of crushed violets, strawberries, cassis, sweet spice, smoky cherries, and resin. The palate is ever-evolving with cascading layers of dusty fruit, spice, and earth backed by striking minerals and dry tannins. This is a wine of purity and finesse that is excellent for drinking now, though five (or many more) years in the cellar would do no harm. Tim Gagnon
A beautiful complex glass of Chenin from Chinon courtesy of Matthieu and Bernard Baudry from young vines in La Croix Boissee. Aromas of lime-flower, stone, dried pear and apple. A hint of hazelnut and spice. Palate opens with aeration to show intense dried pear, anise, beeswax and strong mineral flavors with very firm acidity in the finish. The intense citrus oil and dried herbs in the finish are typical of white Chinon. This is a beautiful and really unique expression of Chenin Blanc. Decant or open 1-2 hours before serving. Highly recommended!
From the marvelous father/son team Bernard and Matthieu Baudry comes this beatiful Chinon from the difficult 2013 vintage. The wine comes from parcels in Saint-Louans on clay/limestone and in 2013 it contains much of the juice from les Grezeaux, the Baudry's great gravel-based parcel in Cravant. The aromas are bright and earthy with raspberry/strawberry fruit and hints of citrus, fresh herbs and pepper. The palate is fairly light with raspberry, earth, licorice and herbal notes backed with bright acidity. Serve quite cool with pork, chicken, charcuterie and mild cheeses or with a fish in sauce. This will be an interesting mature wine with 5 to 8 years of cellaring...