WINE OF THE WEEK #077
It’s time to attack the first Loire wine for this month, and I just couldn’t wait to open this wine. Last week I was at Vitiloire, a winefair in Tours with more then 100 local, and it was freakin’ hot outside and I was suffering a lot from my allergy. Maybe a bad thing for me, but it means Tours is a very green city with lots of plants and flowers :).
However, when I came across the wines from Domaine de grandes Esperances, I just had to try them. The labels looked stunning, and the guy behind the table wore a simple t-shirt, had a beard and a big smile on his face. You could feel the passion for making good wine, not making big money. And I am so happy when I meet winemakers like that.
So I bought a bottle of their cuvée Aurore 2010. The wine is made 100% from the Chenin Blanc grape and has the AOC Touraine Amboise : a small area close to the city of Tours.
I quickly understood I had to put a chenin blanc wine in my selection for this month as I tasted a lot of chenin blancs from Vouvray during my weekend in Tours. But, I had a hard time appreciating the way the wines were made.
To me, chenin blanc has a lot of similarities with chardonnay in terms of body and structure, and chenin and chardonnay even share some flavours together.
What I did not like was the fact that the white wines were often oak aged and had certain grams of sugar in them to balance out the power of the oak and give the wines a rounder profile. It was hard to find wines that had their own character, good acidity and showed the freshness and potential that you get from a well made chardonnay.
Now, I am putting my hopes on my first impressions with the winemaker to change my opinion about chenin blanc. It could be the start of a love-hate relationship!
Let’s go :)
For a chenin blanc, the wine looks still a bit young. It is starting to show that typical golden colour that I was looking for, but nonetheless, the wine looks alive and ready to please…
Wow, i could already smell the wine from far away, but if you stick you nose in the glass, you can be sure … it’s there!
The nose shows a very fun play between 2 aspects, like a game of ping pong.
Ping is freshness and fruits : there’s a lot of pineapple and lemon, and a very girly touch of wet flowers.
Pong on the other hand are the typical oaky notes : vanilla, melted butter and a rather funky candy note.
But what I incredibely like is the balance that both components show. The wine is definitely not overoaked and when you look for Ping, you smell Pong, and if you want to smell Pong again, you get Ping.
Let’s add the Ping-Pong nose to our wine vocabulary, shall we.
Aaaaaaaagh, funny face!
What a punch of acidity.
In the mouth, the wine is very much alive and develops some really nice flavours, but I must say that the amount of energy released makes me a bit concerned about the balance. On the other hand, nothing goes wrong.
I am happy that the freshness and acidity are winning from the oaky notes (80% - 20%), and the flavour profile in the mouth is the same as on the nose.
As a big compliment (I’ve done it!) the mouthfeel does remind me of some rather expensive white burgundies I tasted a while ago. This wine costs 3-4 times less though.
This wine is seductive.
It shows great complexity and develops that sweet candy note, together with pineapple and lemon, in a fantastic way. The wine has a great energy, is quite powerful yet very elegant and drinkable.
I am happy I found myself an oak aged white wine that I really really like. The oak added complexity, but the wine kept the acidity, flavour and fun of an unoaked wine. Best of both worlds, and a bloody good bottle of grapejuice.
A very nice discovery and a really good start!