Chenin Blanc is a grape it’s easy to overlook the greatness of, because its greatness shows itself in so few places. Chenin, which, like Chardonnay, is given to producing heavy crops given the opportunity, is used in many places to make jug wine, but in the few square kilometers around the confluence of the Cher and Loire Rivers which make up the AOCs of Vouvray and Montlouis, the grape shows its true and stunning potential.
Xavier Weisskopf, who was not yet thirty when he established his domaine in 2005, had the wisdom to invest in largely older Chenin vines (some more than a century), the age of which limits the grape’s natural desire to give lots of fruit. (Lots of fruit = low-quality fruit. An unfortunate but ironclad fact.) The Touche-Mitaine vineyard (“Touch of Mitten” – it’s cold up there) has the clay-limestone soil out of which so many great wine grapes grow, contributing to the aromatics and acid structure of the wine. Rich, and showing the natural high acidity of Chenin, this is a delicate, lacy wine with pit fruit and sandy, flinty minerality on the light and beguiling nose. In the mouth, it is linear, focused, and finely-etched, the way good dry Chenin should be, rich apricot and nectarine fruit in harmony with sandstone minerality and high acidity.
Pairing: Resonant on the finish, with lingering honey and citrus flavors, it will pair with trout with dill sauce, cabbage pie, or saffron chicken.
VARIETY: CHENIN BLANC
REGION: Montlouis, Loire Valley, FRANCE