Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chateau Pierre Bise Haute de la Garde Anjou Blanc, 1996

I bought one or two cases of this Loire Chenin Blanc every year between 1996 and 2001, and it was one of the wines I bought for my daughter's wedding. We loved it, and, at $4-$8 a bottle, it was one of the least expensive wines on the market. Labeled as a simple Anjou Blanc, it is made by one of the top Savennieres producers, who now recognizes this vineyard (Haute de la Garde) as special and deserving of higher pricing.

The wine was perfectly enjoyable in its youth, but I put a few bottles of the 1996 and 1997 away just to see how long they would go. The last time I visited it was 2005 or 2006, and it had gained incredible complexity by that time. This bottle is past its prime, but you never know how long a wine will last until you try.

The color is now a copper color, almost like a blush wine,  but that's the most mature facet of this wine. The vineyard is special because of a high level of botrytis, and that honeyed character has taken over the wine. Now almost like a good Sauternes but without the residual sugar. Very smooth and rich. There is a lot to like in this wine, although the twinkling complexity that was there in 2005 has vanished. I still have one bottle of the 2007 which I will try soon.

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