Savennieres lies 15 km to the south of Angers and was the first stop on a recent Wine Bloggers trip to the region. And what a place to start! These wines have a reputation for their high quality and minerality but with lots of ageing potential when they develop a range of aromas including honey, acacia and old apple.
We were met at the Chateau des Vaults by Mme Evelyne de Pontbriand who as well as being the owner of Domaine du Closel is also the President of the Savennieres Appellation. She had arranged for us to meet and taste the wines of a number of other producers from the appellation.
She explained that it was the soil and the climate that made the production of white wines in Savennieres based on Chenin Blanc grapes so special. The soil is complex and warm consisting of schist and sandstone with an ideal South to South West exposure.
We tasted all the wines in the beautiful Chateau des Vaults, a perfect setting for such a stunning range of wines. What follows is only a selection of what was tasted.
Domaine du Closel
Evelyne explained that she is in the process of becoming biodynamic. Whilst they will respect the lunar cycles in the what they do she is already convinced that doing batonnage on certain days does make a difference. We tasted a number of her wines the Les Caillardieres 2010 having a lovely honeyed nose and rounded palate. Although described as off dry the sugar is hardly noticeable simply adding a roundness to the palate of dried fruit and nuts.
I really enjoyed both the Clos du Papillon from 2010 and 2006 the 2010 perfectly illustrating the mineral nature that everyone talks about with the wines from Savennieres whereas the 2006 with its burnished gold colour apricots and apples on the nose showed how well these wines can age.
Domaine FL is a relatively new creation out of two existing estates.
I loved the Chamboreau 2007 with its honeyed nose and rounded rich palate but with great acidity to add balance to the whole effect.
Much like Domaine FL this is a young venture. They are “negociant eleveurs”, purchasing organic grapes for the most part and personally vinifying them but they also maintain some organic vineyards.
Their approach is very much hands off, doing nothing to the wine. Although not biodynamically certified they respect the lunar cycles. Their 2010 was an amazingly fresh wine with no hint of the oak they use for 30% of the production. Lovely fresh purity with great fruit on the nose.
Vignobles Alain Chateau
The Savennieres from this group comes from the vineyards surrounding the Chateau de Varennes. We tasted both the 2010 and 2008 the 2010 being a bit young at present but the 2008 showing a lovely honeyed development with the acidity building on the palate.
Vincent Badouin and Domaine de Closel share the same oenologist. His 2009 was a complex, fresh and rounded wine but showing some honeyed development
The Clos le Grand Beaupreau for the 2010 vintage was all green apple fruit with acidity that made it quite a lean style whereas the 2009 was already showing signs of development into a rounded and richer style of wine that lingered and was altogether more complex.
How would I sum up Savennieres after this tasting of wines from six producers? What surprised me given the fact everyone seems to associate Savennieres with minerality is the development on the wines after only a short period. I loved the complexity, richness and weight that comes jumping out the glass after only a years or two but beautifully balanced by the trademark acidity of the Chenin Blanc grape.
It was real pleasure to meet the producers and to feel the passion they have for their wines and the terroir that produces them.