We left early morning from Saumur, direction Savannieres. It’s rainy but our 5-chateaux plan day is awesome. Interesting fact: all of the wineries we booked were organic or biodynamic.
First stop: We started with the legendary chateau of Nicolas Joly, one of the true promoters of biodynamic wines in the world. Vineyard of the Coulée De Serrant is a must visit and its wines struck me for their complexity. You can find them worldwide now and even in famous restaurants. One of the things that our host (the accountant, unfortunately Nicolas Joly was not there) is that the wines have to open a lot before tasting. Indeed, the ones we tried had been open for several days! Top-choice for me is the Vieux Clos 2012, with aromas of quince and honey.
Second stop: Domaine De Closel. We are we in a beautiful scenario, with a chateau surrounded by a nice park. We walk around, besides being such a rainy day, and get to see some vines. We feel like home in the tasting room. Really nice service and knowledge from our host! Lovely whites with good acidity and complexity. The volcanic soil parcels give it also an extra minerality to the Clos De Papillon, my favourite wine of the day displaying aromas as citrus peel, honey and floral notes as acacia.
Third chateau for the morning: Clos De L’élu, which is managed by a French couple. The winemaker, Thomas, let us try the wines from the barrels and it’s a lot of fun. We tried some really great reds and whites. In particular I enjoyed the 100% Cabernet Franc “L’Aigleire”. Smooth, with ripe red cherry and truffle notes. Great concentration and roundness.
For lunch, we found a small bistro, Loeic et Nicole, only frequented by locals. Fixed menu for 13 euros. Rustic and unpretentious. Local wine and desserts included along with the entrée and dessert. Good selection of cheese at the end. No time to rest, though. A couple of matches of game football there and we head off to other wineries.
First chateau of the afternoon is Chateau De Passavant. A biodynamic estate that impressed me also for its investment on wines without sulphites added. It has a huge range of wines, including some sparkling. The must-try here is the Cuvée Montchenin, a chenin blanc aged in barrel. Perfect with smoked seafood and white meats.
Final tasting is at Domaine de Juchepie. I had an interesting conversation with the owner, Eddy Oosterlinck-Bracke, from Belgium. He is practising biodynamic agriculture because he truly believes in the potential of biodynamic vines in making higher quality fruits. The sustainability part for him is of second importance. The wines have great complexity, length and are a pure joy to the palate. What a discovery was the sweet wine, a 2005 made with noble rot grapes. Notes of caramel, dried figs, nuts and chestnut honey.
A full and intense full day which ended in a nice dinner at a Moroccan restaurant in Saumur.
Looking forward to tomorrow!