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Salon & Renaissance Tastings – Day 2

Day two of the Salon yesterday, and a fascinating day of tasting for me. The Salon is always educational, in that through tasting lots of different wines, some old and some new, I get to grips both with individual domaines but also the most recent vintages. But I learnt a lot more beyond this yesterday, in particular on different philosophies of viticulture and distinctive and very individual techniques of winemaking, both using chemicals and following organic and biodynamic methods. Not all of this will necessariliy make it onto Winedoctor, but that doesn’t matter; what matters is that I have a much better grasp of what it means to employ these different methodologies in the early 21st century.

As for tasting, yesterday was dominated by Savennières, with visits to Domaine du Closel, Domaine aux Moines and Chateau d’Epiré, and also tasting examples from Anjou domaines that include this appellation in their portfolio, such as Pithon-Paillé and Domaine des Baumard. One thing that is clear is that a view of Savennières as either (a) modern or (b) traditional, with each style influenced by the techniques of fermentation, the vessels used, whether or not there is malolactic fermentation and so on, is a rather naive one. There is more to the appellation to this, a broad array of styles, and although some can be slotted into a ‘traditional’ style the array of more modern efforts are quite wide-ranging, with some bruising, oak influenced efforts, some lightly oxidative and some truly elegant, polished by oak and yet not really showing an oak character in terms of aroma or flavour. Prominent in the latter group yesterday were the wines of Damien Laureau (above right), a very skilled young producer who I will be profiling on Winedoctor before long.

Later today, I’ll be getting to grips with some of the new names in Montlouis, and hopefully mopping up in a few other appellations. I really seem to have bedded in with Savennières, Vouvray and Montlouis this year, I hope I can find the time to taste a little red wine, or some Sancerre and Muscadet as well.

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