Friday, May 01, 2009

Wine of the Week - 2007 Bernard Baudry Chinon

2007 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Cuvée Domaine, $18, Louis/Dressner Selections. I have no scientific evidence to back this up, but I'm going to go ahead and say it anyway: Bernard Baudry and his son Matthieu are making the best wines in Chinon. All of Baudry's wines are delicious and offer great value, but I have a soft spot for Cuvée Domaine, probably because the 2003 was the first Baudry wine that I ever drank. Cuvée Domaine is a blend of grapes from gravel and clay soils, the ratio is about 70-30 in most years. The vines are at least 30 years old and are right near the family's house in Cravant Les Coteaux.

I love Cuvée Domaine in general because although it is most definitely a serious wine that benefits from short to mid term aging, it drinks beautifully when young. To me it represents what every entry-level Chinon should aspire to - perfectly ripe fruit, very mineral, and great acidity for balance - this is a truly food friendly wine. The 2006 was remarkable in that the grapes for Les Grézeaux, one of Baudry's higher level wines, went into Cuvée Domaine. In that year the wine was deeper and more structured than usual, and although delicious, seemed to need overnight air before showing its best, or perhaps a bit of time in the cellar. 2007 is the current vintage and it was not an easy year - lots of rain and associated rot meant low yields. But from what I've tasted, the wines are stunning, right up my alley. They are graceful and pure with fantastic transparency, vibrant and energetic.

The 2007 Cuvée Domaine is just a wonderful wine. There are clean and pure red fruits on the nose, but they serve as a vehicle for classic Chinon graphite and earthy aromas, and there is even a touch of chili pepper. The palate is fresh and juicy with very strong acidity and it confidently contrasts delicacy of fruit and earth with extraction and intensity. It leaves a pungent earthy perfume in the mouth after swallowing. It is utterly delicious to drink right now, but I imagine that it will only improve over the next 3-5 years. And it costs all of $18. This is a wine that is well worth having shipped to you if you can't find it in your area - it really is that good, and the price is right. And Joe Dressner didn't pay me to say that.

1 comment:

Clementine said...

Couldn't agree more! Driving through the Loire on Monday, I stopped in Saumur, where I tried to negotiate a visit to Clos Rougeard and ended up missing my chance to visit Bernard Baudry, top of the list in Chinon. I happened to have dinner two days later at Les petites sorcières in Paris, only to find the Cuvée Domaine by the glass and paired astonishingly with pigeon in cherries on polenta. A ravishing first tasting! Overwhelmingly recommended, just trying to hunt down some more.