Friday, 29 March 2013
Savennières tasting 27th March: 2011-2007
Two 2010 Savennières showing range of colour
left: 2010 Les Vieux Clos, Nicolas Joly
right: Clos la Royauté, Pascal Laffourcade
Photo taken when labels were still covered with the Laffourcade
immediately preceding the Joly. I was struck by the variation in colour
On Wednesday morning I had the opportunity to taste 47 wines from Savennières mostly from the 2011 and 2010 vintages but with a few from 2009, 2008 and 2007. The tasting was kindly organised for me by Evelyne de Pontbriand (Domaine du Closel) in her capacity as president of the Syndicat des Producteurs de Savennières. My thanks to Evelyne and all of the producers who sent in samples.
It was a fascinating opportunity to try a broad range of Savennières, which I tasted blind. After tasting the 47 samples the most striking overall impression was their diversity – diversity in terms of style – ranging from light, very clean and pale wines to a golden richer style. Some saw wood, some did not. Some had a touch of oxidation, which added to the complexity, except in one case when the oxidation was so marked that it obliterated everything else. There is also not one single form of bottle – some are typically Loire but there are others akin to Burgundy while others nod to Alsace.
Some overall conclusions: there is a diversity of styles so not really possible to say this or that is a typical Savennières. At their best there is a thrilling harmony between the texture of the fruit and the acidity in the finish. The wines should not be served too old and they need time in bottle for their elments to marry, especially if they have been fermented in oak, and to show their best. Although there were only a few wines from 2009, 2008 and 2007, there was a higher proportion here that really showed well compared to 2010 and 2011. This is not to say that these are poor vintages – rather that there are a number of good wines here but ideally they need more time. Alternatively if you are going to serve them now they would benefit from being decanted.
Attempt (not entirely successful) to show variation in bottle shapes
Tasting was in the library of Domaine du Closel/ Château des Vaults
In another post I will list my favourite wines.