Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pierre-Bis Clos du Coulaine Savennieres, 2000

Savennieres, the dry white Chenin Blanc of the Loire, is not a wine to everyone's liking. And that's good because it leaves more of it for those of us who love this wine. And the price is usually embarrassingly low for a wine of this quality. Domaine du Coulaine's 4.5 hectares of Chenin Blanc vines are planted on silty-sandy soils over sandstone and schist deposits. The vines are old, yields are low and the wines are recognized by locals and experts as some of these best of the appellation. Yet I paid less than $12 earlier this decade for this bottle, and the current vintage is probably not much more expensive.

The 2000 Clos du Coulaine Savennieres is drinking quite well right now, although I'm sure it will continue to improve for at least another decade. It's a medium deep gold in color, and it's developed some beautiful Chenin Blanc scents--peaches, pears, honey and probably some botrytis. Very fragrant but not at all over the top. On the palate there is an essential sweetness--honey and ripe pears--but the wine is also notably dry with notes of straw and Savennieres minerals. It has a firm, broad-shouldered body--a white wine for red wine lovers, big and powerful but by no means fat. It's a wine of place, everything a Savennieres should be. And it's got me dreaming about the 1985, 1981 and 1990 Savennieres of Domaine des Baumards that I've had before and will have again. Drink it now or wait? With Savennieres that is always the question. And there is no satisfactory answer.

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