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2014 - Structure and Elegance (The Baudrys discuss this excellent vintage)
"The 2013-2014 winter was especially mild, with a lot of rain and almost no days of frost: despite our temperate climate, this was unusual. Fortunately, no cold snap occurred in spring, the stressful time when buds burst. Contrary to 2012 and 2013, none of our parcels suffered from frost. Spring was also rather mild and rainy, with the exception of the month of May which allowed blooming to be fast and homogenous. All indicators pointed to a crop with comfortable yield and healthy conditions. June was hot, the vines were ahead in their cycle, the young grapes looked good. Alas, in July and even more in August, it rained a lot. Downy mildew was a constant threat throughout the summer. Good weather never came (an anticyclone weather pattern, located over the Azores islands, has to stabilize to insure dry, sunny weather over Western Europe) and low pressure episodes were constant, with rain and low temperatures. At the end of August, we were pretty morose, as we felt we were re-living a repeat of the wet summer of 2013. However, a miracle of sorts happened at the beginning of September, when weather patterns changed to extraordinary conditions until harvest. Almost no rain for a full month and exceptional sun allowed us to start the harvest on September 29th under much better conditions than in 2013, with healthy and sugar-rich grapes.
Our 2014 wines are magnificent in their fresh and balanced character. Aromas of red or black fruit, depending on how concentrated the wines are, mingle with good acidity and supple tannins. These wines are truly charming; their richness reminds us of 2009, but with more acidity and more vivid color. We are very happy with this vintage, and relieved to have a good crop after such a mediocre summer and two vintages of very small crops.
Thanks to September, 2014 turned out to be a really excellent vintage."
The 2014 "Le Clos Guillot," the most Burgundian of the Baudry Chinons, has just arrived! During our visit to the Baudrys in February of 2016 we were able to taste the 2015s and 2014s from barrel, which was a wonderful experience! The 2015s are lovely wines, very silky in texture and aromatically pretty but the 2014s had a combination of fruit, structure and freshness that made them stand out as one our favorite vintages to date at Baudry. Le Clos Guillot is a hillside parcel, facing south, just east of the town of Chinon on "tuffeau jaune," covered with clay on the higher part and very thin sandier soils below. The wine is aged for 1 year in large two to five year-old barrels, and an additional 9 months in unlined cement vats. Minimal SO2 is used. From barrel, the wine showed beautiful deep black fruits, remarkable elegance and purity, and fabulous length. The bottled wine has just arrived and has more than fufilled it's promise, showing remarkable purity of fruit and perfect balance - a great Chinon that can be enoyed young for it's exuberant fruit and freshness, and that is structured to age beautifully for fifteen to twenty years.
Also available, the 2014 Chinon "Les Grezeaux" is one of the best "Grezeaux" the Baudrys have made, showing 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 Chinon "Les Grézeaux" is an outstanding wine that will drink well young and will age well for 20 years and more. If the "Clos Guillot" is more elegant and Burgundian, the "Grezeaux" is a bit rounder and more lush, almost like a great Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil from the gravel banks north of the Loire. Take your pick...
We also highly recommend the 2014 Chinon "Cuvée Domaine". It may not their best wine - that honor goes to "Les Grézeaux," "le Clos Guillot" or "la Croix Boissée," depending on the vintage - but in some ways it's our favorite. It's always a beautiful expression of Chinon, coming from both sand and clay over limestone (75%), and gravel terroirs (25%); it drinks with freshness, earthy flavors and beautiful fruit as a young wine, and it has the structure to age well for ten to twenty years and more in the best vintages - and it's very affordable! Tasted twice from barrel in the winters of 2015 and 2016, we can assure you that 2014 is a great vintage for this wine and we urge you to try it!
If you're worried about your allocation of Clos Rougeard (?), or if you simply want great wines at reasonable prices that will cellar beautifully for 20 years and more, our advice is to buy more Baudry! Not seeking wines of high concentration and tannin levels, the Baudrys do almost no extraction, seeking elegant, balanced wines that will age gracefully and drink well young. Their superb organic farming and precise, natural vinifications are yielding outstanding wines of terroir from each of their parcels - all the wines in today's email are highly recommended! All wines arrive on or before Monday, Jan 16th.
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 two to five 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. In 2014, the Baudrys produced superb wines with perfect balance and lovely, pure fruit. Their precise vinifications, matched to each different terroir, with no new oak, minimal sulfur, and elevage of the right length and in the right barrel, foudre or vat, gave elegant and delicous results. The 2014 Clos Guillot is a black/purple color with red rim, showing intense aromas of red currant, boysenberry, blackberry, fines herbs, citrus and stone with hints of dark chocolate and musk. The palate shows bright, lush, sappy red and black fruits with bright acidity lifting the flavors and coating the palate with citrusy red fruits, saline minerals and wet stone. Beautiful wine! Case quantities are possible, but don't delay. DL
(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!
We're very excited about the arrival of the superb 2014 Chinon "Cuvee Domaine" from Bernard and Matthieu Baudry. All Cabernet Franc of course, a blend of 75% from a parcel in St. Louans, where the thin clay/limestone soils give earthy well-structured wines, with 25% from gravel soils near Cravant, giving supple fruit and freshness. Organic farming, wild-yeast fermentation, aging in 5 to 10 year-old wooden vats and casks. Tasted from barrel in February of 2016 the wine was quite beautiful , if a bit closed, showing lovely pure red fruit aromas with a supple, ripe palate, very deep and long and framed in perfect earthy acidity. Upon arrival in NY (October 2016), the wine is singing, with aromas of wild strawberry and red currant with white pepper, earth and cocoa. The palate is fresh and balanced with pretty red fruits, earth and citrus notes, really long and lovely. This will be a superb and unique Chinon, both to drink young and for cellaring of fifteen to twenty years. Serve cool with roast chicken, pork dishes, charcuterie, green vegetables and mild cheeses. Highly recommended. DL (Those who want a bit of the mature experience should: open the bottle, taste - yum - re-cork and put in fridge; wait three days, enjoy!) Featured in the NY Times "20 Wines Under $20" 01/12/17
From 25 to 30 year-old vines on gravel and sandy soils over clay near the Vienne river. This "basic" cuvée from Bernard and Matthieu Baudy has gotten more and more "serious" as the vines age, giving a wine that is delightful to drink young, but that shows surprising complexity and mineral character as well. The wine shows aromas of ripe raspberry and strawberry with hints of earth, stone, pepper and herbs. The palate is quite mineral with firm stony acids underlying lush berry fruits, and is beautifully balanced at 12% alcohol. Quite structured for "les Granges," this is delicious now, served cool, with roast chicken, white meats, charcuterie and mild cheeses and will imporve with 3 to 5 years of aging.
From a tiny parcel in La Croix Boissée, with 15 to 25 year-old Chenin vines on thin sandy clay soils over limestone. Slow fermentation in 500 liter tonneaux until "sec" - under 2 grams per liter of residual sugar. With lovely ripeness in the 2015 vintage, the wine shows aromas of lime-flower, stone, dried pear and apple, with a hint of hazelnut and spice. The palate opens with aeration to show intense dried pear, anise, beeswax and strong mineral flavors in a quite ripe and round frame with firm acidity. 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!