Savennières is a small white wine appellation in the Anjou-Saumur region of the Loire. As with much of the white wine in the region the grape is Chenin Blanc, and Savennières is one of Chenin’s finest expressions. Whilst Chenin Blanc is renowned for sweet wines in Coteaux du Layon to the south, Savennières produces predominantly dry wines. Savennières is an appellation I rarely see in Britain, with the exception of specialist retailers. This is in part due to the relatively high price, and in part due to the style of the wine itself. Savennières at its best produces powerful, elegant and serious wines, and most require ageing to show at their best.
Domaine des Baumard, Clos de Saint Yves, Savennières, 2009
Cépage: 100% Chenin Blanc, Alcohol: 13%.
Price: £19.99 from DBM wines.
Domaine des Baumard is a top estate for wines from the Loire, both from Savennières, and Coteaux du Layon. This wine has 7 years of bottle age but on tasting retained the beauty of youth: taut and tense and with a crystalline purity. Baumard has left this wine unoaked allowing the expression of the terroir to come through unadulterated. The style makes for a serious wine, and one that is rewarding of the investment of time and concentration.
In the glass we have a pale gold appearance and a waxy mouthfeel. The nose and palate bring stone fruit, nuts and peach kernals, with these pretty notes belying the underlying power and concentration. Given the cool climate this has slightly less acidity than I expected, however, with the bone dry presentation, this was sufficient to retain tight focus. There is an incredibly high salinity and minerality, reminding me of the intensity of terroir from the top wines from the Wachau. The finish is excessively long with a savoury richness, evoking aged cheese, or even cured salted meat.
Frankly this wine overpowered the meal it was served with, but made a fine digestif. The following evening the remainder paid great compliment to a board of strong hard cheese. My partner found this somewhat austere in presentation, and I have a suspicion the point may be missed by the mass consumer. Whilst this could be considered somewhat impenetrable to those new to wine, it oozes quality and class to the initiated.
Conclusion: Serious, composed, and to my palate delightful. Next time you are in the market for a rich and elegant white wine look beyond Burgundy and consider the fruits of Savennières.
Score: 91/100 (DT)