Loire has been making seriously underrated whites for a very long time and this is well known within connoisseur circles. However with Burgundy white prices as high as they are now, everyone should be considering these beautifully made Chenin blancs.
Chenin blanc performed stunningly in the 2015 vintage, according to Jancis Robinson: “Chenins are a nice step up on 2014 – itself one of the best Loire vintages.” We have two top domaines in their respective appellations making wines in different styles, showcasing not just the versatility of the grape but some of the best Loire has to offer. These are wines that can easily age alongside other Loire legends such as Dagneneau and the Cotat brothers. I tried the wines last week, and my tasting notes are below.
Eric MORGAT: Saviennères Superstar
Coming from a family with a long history in the region, Eric struck out on his own in 1994 by buying up then uncultivated but “grand cru” level parcels in Savienneres. He was a visionary, not just with the planting of vines to biodynamic standards but also with the introduction of oak, creating intensely complex wines that are very much worthy of longterm ageing.
MORGAT Eric, Anjou Blanc, “Litus” 2015
“A blend from separate parcels. Rounded and toasty yet with a clear mineral undertone. Invitingly luscious on the palate, it is balanced with fantastic acidity and an elegant finish. Super expressive even when young and straight from the bottle” – Joy Chan, L’Imperatrice.
MORGAT Eric, Savennieres, “Fides” (Ex-L’Enclos) 2015
“This is from the best parcel of his holdings and made with more new oak. This is evident on the increased smoky toastiness on the nose and palate, though there is beautiful density of fruit and acidity to balance out the wines and a long steady finish to match. Complex and ambitious, this will do even better in just a few years” – Joy Chan, L’Imperatrice.
GUIBERTEAU: Best of Brézé
Guiberteau’s wines are a new gem in Hong Kong but in fact are long established in the best restaurants of Paris.
Founded in the early 20th century, current winemaker Romain Guiberteau was first mentored by Clos Rougeard’s Dani Foucault in the mid 90s before taking over the family domaine. They own easily some of the best parcels in Saumur, with vines dating back to the beginning of the domaine in 1935, which were then certified AB (Agriculture Biologique) organic in 2007. These wines now rival the best in the region and are comparable to the Saumur Blancs by Clos Rougeard, but at a fraction of their price.
GUIBERTEAU, Saumur Blanc 2015
“The “village” level wine is made from parcels Montreuil-Bellay, Brézé and Bizay. Noticeably more racy and sleek than the fuller Morgats yet incredibly complex and mineral” – Joy Chan, L’Imperatrice.
GUIBERTEAU, Les Moulins Saumur Blanc 2015
“Grapes come from parcels in Clos de Carmes, Clos de Guichaux and hill of Brézé itself. Just as mineral and sleek as the Saumur Blanc, however kicked up a notch in intensity, complexity and toastiness from more oak. This will need some time before it shows its full potential” – Joy Chan, L’Imperatrice.
– Joy Chan