Domaine des Baumard, Savennières Trie Speciale, Loire, France, 2014
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.
The key to success is to harvest the best quality fruit and once in the winery the task is to protect this precious juice. Purity of fruit is the aim and even oak is deemed unnecessary in this quest.
No oak ageing
Made from only the ripest berries, the nose offers a very attractive minerality with ripe and fresh citrus fruits to the fore. There is a tremendous weight and concentration to this wine, dense and oily but backed up with tingling, linear acidity. This is wine full of paradox, honeyed and yet dry, rounded and yet firm. The rich fruit spice and minerality on the palate ensure a thoroughly memorable experience.
The high acidity of Savennières makes it an excellent wine to cut through rich, cream-based sauces, and it can pair remarkably well with boudin blanc or pâté.
Wines and Spirits Magazine 93 Points
Florent Baumard produces this wine in top vintages, from the schist soils of Clos St-Yves. Bottled under screwcap, this shows no reduction, immediately presenting the aristocratic profile of a great Savennières in scents of Bosc pear and honey and a long line of schist acidity. It has tactile grace and only improves with air, growing more sophisticated over the course of several days as the delicate flavors glisten with purity and clarity. Baumard’s best chenins develop beautifully for more than a decade and this one is well worth cellaring. Jan 2016, 93 Points.
Wine Enthusiast 93 Points
Released only in top vintages, this wine comes from grapes picked during selective passes in the vineyard. That has produced a ripe, opulent wine that is just beginning to develop hints of toast to soften the intense acidity and bright acidity. It's a distinctive wine and likely to be slow to mature. RV, Jan 2016, 93 Points.
Chenin Blanc 100%
12 x 75cl