Federal Wine & Spirits

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2014 Baumard Savennieres Clos du Papillon

A Wonderfully Mature Loire Chenin Blanc
December 30, 2021

 

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Loire

Chenin Blanc is the premier white grape of Anjou in the Loire. When young, its wine is full of peach and apricot fruit, often underlined by a bitter almond note. Savennieres is the epicenter of Chenin Blanc. Its Clos du Papillon vineyard, named for its butterfly shape, has sandstone over volcanic soils that give chenin an extra distinction.

I'm very fond of Domaine Baumard's wine. It was the first estate I visited on my first trip to France. The erudite Jean Baumard, who had established the estate, was ahead of his time in sustainable agriculture. His wines shone for their richness, intensity, and purity. His son, Florent Baumard, continues the modernist style of making wine that his father pioneered 50 years ago.

 They space their rows wide and plow often. The pressing is light to avoid unripe grapes, the fermentation cool to preserve the fruit. Most of all, Florent wants wine that will age and to that end began the use of stelvin closures, a no-no in traditional France, but one that he proved effective in the slow aging of white wine, that the Wine Spectatorwrote a few years ago.

Last summer, I had the chance to taste an excellent 2014 Baumard Savennieres Clos du Papillon from the cellar of a friend who was the estate's first American importer. No longer did acid joust with fruit and mineral, but the three had become a whole that teased the nose with a delicate scent of dry apricot compote. It filled and enchanted the palate with subtly spiced and concentrated flavors. It murmured; it did not shout.

When Baumard's current importer offered me the chance to purchase library selections direct from the vineyard, I went straight to the 2014 Papillon. It arrives this week.

 It is not a sumptuous wine, but it is what the French call a vin de reve, a wine of contemplation. You can enjoy its subtle nuance by itself or with delicately herbed white meat or fish dishes. Give it some time in a glass or decanter. I strongly recommend it.

 

2014 Domaine Baumard Savennieres Clos du Papillon Nose, subtle and evocative a suggestion of lightly spiced pearMouthsoft, enveloping the tongue, subtle notes of apple and apricot, a light note of almond, very long;Excellent $40

 

Special case of 12   $399 (33.25

  Bundle of six, $219

Arrives this week

 

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