Domaine des Baumard, Côteaux du Layon, Carte d'Or, Loire, France, 2021
One of the Loire’s most lauded producers, Florent Baumard has courted controversy by pursuing his own ideas and challenging the status quo.
In a deeply traditional region, Florent's early adoption of screwcaps and different vine trellising systems marked him out as the enfant terrible of Savennières. His mantra now encompasses a belief in the individuality of each vintage, believing it should be made with minimal intervention to allow the wine to reflect its vintage and unique character. His Savennières from the famous vineyards of Clos St Yves and Clos du Papillon are rich, yet with a balance and elegance that are unrivalled. His top cuvée of ‘Trie Speciale’ is only made in very exceptional vintages when grape quality is optimal. It is a wine full of paradox, honeyed and yet dry, rounded and yet firm. The rich fruit, tremendous weight and concentration ensure that it is a thoroughly memorable experience.
The Baumard approach to viticulture is a notable one, and it does make it easy to spot the Baumard vines in any given appellation. They are trained in a fashion Baumard describe as vignes hautes et larges (sometimes abbreviated to VHL); the larges refers to the distance between the vines, a remarkable 3 metres between the rows and 0.8 metres between each vine, whereas the hautes refers to the high trellising system employed, taking the vines to a height of more than 2 metres, the object being to obtain a large surface area of foliage. During the vegetative period they see limited leaf-thinning along their base, but otherwise there is little intervention at this time, not even topping-off of the upper shoots as they reach for the sky above. Between the rows, the soil is alternatively ploughed and grassed over, a methodology the Baumards have been following for well over 40 years. The harvest is manual, and the fruit transported in small plastic cages to minimise damage.
Fractional pneumatic pressing of whole grape bunches and fermentation at low, controlled temperatures and 9 months in stainless steel on its fine lees.
No oak ageing
A very attractive honeyed nose, with lifted yellow fruits and more golden tropical elements such as mango, guava and pineapple. It has a particularly tropical character and a very fresh feel on the palate, with steely minerality and a zippy background acidity giving invigorating tartness to keep the wine luscious and buoyant. The rounded, approachable finish has good length.
The perfect match for rich starters like foie gras or sweetbreads and will see you through to dessert or cheese.
Chenin Blanc 100%
12 x 37.5cl
Award: Wines and Spirits Magazine 93 Points