by Treve Ring | In my line of work I get to
drink taste a boatload of wines, many good, most average, a lot of plonk, and a slight few, awesome…
Domaine Baumard | Clos Saint-Yves Savennières 2009 | AC Savennières | Loire, France | $35
Old Vine Chenin Blanc. That’s enough to get my attention. Throw in this small, specialized Savennières, a sub-appellation of the Anjou AOC, and highly regarded for long-lived, dry chenin blanc and you’ve got enough for me to queue, screw in one hand and glass in the other. Domaine des Baumards is run by Florent and his recently retired father, Jean. The property has been in the Baumard family since 1634; let’s just say the Baumards know their land. The Domaine is regarded as one of the greatest producers in the Loire Valley and has been called one of the greatest producers of white wine in the world. Yields are low and the grapes are sustainably and organically harvested. In The World’s Greatest Wine Estates, Robert Parker pens “For decades Jean Baumard’s wines have been benchmarks for Savennières, Côteaux du Layon, and Quarts de Chaume – his wines have every component in place, so technically perfect and so polished they seem to be the product of a scientist. Florent, who is taking over from his recently retired father, has added some soul. There is no doubt in my mind that Florent Baumard is one of the shining lights in France’s winemaking present and future.”
The Clos de Saint-Yves is a bone dry Savennières, considered as the entry point of the house, and what an entrance. Chenin is a terroir-transmitting grape, and it’s signaling clearly the schist, sandstone and sand that these 35+ year old vines were grown on. This is not an easy wine, but it’s worth the effort. Expressive and wily temperamental, every few minutes you get something new in the glass.
Savoury schisty minerality, sea salt, wild honey, yellow pear, dried quince, citrus, chamomile and redux apple skin notes all jockey for position atop an oily, full and vibrant palate. I recommend decanting for a few hours before launching in. This is a complex wine – one that deserves contemplation, possibly grilled scallops or a fresh briny oyster. And definitely deserves awesome.