2008 Savennières, “Les Vieux Clos”, Nicolas Joly, Loire Valley, France
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Roving Sommelier is passionate about premium quality French regional wines. For most wine lovers, Nicolas Joly, who is based at his eponymous estate Vignobles de la Coulée de Serrant is one of the best producers of Chenin Blanc, not only in France, but in the world. In addition, Nicolas Joly is regarded as the master of biodynamic winemaking, and arguably produces the most expressive and purest Chenin Blancs in the world. He has devoted his life’s work and efforts to this most interesting of grape varieties. His most famous wine is the single vineyard Savennières “Coulée de Serrant”, which is a complex masterpiece and testament to a special piece of land. All three of his wines are produced from Chenin Blanc and are biodynamically farmed: “La Coulée de Serrant”, which is a ‘monopole’ i.e. entirely owned by the Joly family; “Le Clos de la Bergerie”, Appellation Savennières-Roche aux Moines, and “Les Vieux Clos”, Appellation Savennières.
Nicolas Joly’s “Les Vieux Clos” is sourced from a very old single vineyard that goes back to the Middle Ages, when the land was associated with the church. Yields are extremely low, and the intense concentration of the ripe Chenin Blanc grapes is exceptional. Only around 15,000 bottles are produced each year.
According to Nicolas Joly: “Chenin gets its complexity only when it is fully ripe – deep yellow. And only healthy, sustainable farming can guarantee this without grey rot. For this reason, all our grapes are picked in four or five passes as each parcel begins to raisin and form botrytis – thereby allowing the mineral flavours of Chenin to achieve their fullest intensity.”
Once opened, wines made in this way continue to improve – and are in no way oxidized.
Open few hours in advance or carafe the wine. Serve at 14°C. You may find it unusual to decant or carafe a white wine. However, it will benefit a full-flavoured and complex wine such as this.
Alcohol: 15% abv (75cl)
Grape variety: Chenin Blanc
Flavour Profile: Dry, Highly aromatic, Complex, Golden colour, Baked apple, Grapefruit, Beeswax, Honey, Floral, Mineral, Mouth-watering acidity