Sunday, September 21, 2008

Chateau d'Epire Savennieres, 1982

This wine doesn't owe me anything. I paid $52.50/case for it 25 years ago and have enjoyed it numerous times at every stage of its development. It was a full-bodied, fruit-oriented Chardonnay alternative when it was young and has maintained its fruit orientation while adding honeyed nuances over the past two decades. A 26-year-old white table wine is always an oddity, but dry Chenin Blanc from the Savennieres appellation of the Loire Valley has a reputation for producing ageworthy wines. I had a 1982 Domaine Baumard Clos du Papillon Savennieres last December that was fantastic.

My last bottle of Chateau d'Epire several years ago gave every indication of immortality, but alas this bottle is disappointing. The color is a deep gold, and it deepens further with aeration. The nose still has honey/melon notes but they are muted compared to previous bottles. The honey carries over to the palate with a rich mouthfeel, but there is also a bitter streak, almost salty on the sides of the tongue. The wine is not dead nor oxidized, and it still offers some pleasure. It may be merely a bad bottle, but I suspect that I have pushed my luck with this 26-year-old Chenin Blanc.

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