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Domaine des Baumard Savennieres 2004

Chenin Blanc from Loire, France
  • WS91
  • WE90
  • RP89
  • WS94
  • WS90
  • W&S90
  • WE92
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Winemaker Notes

Savennières is a tiny region located on the northern banks of the Loire River, just across from the town of Rochefort Sur Loire. The entire appellation consists of fewer than 200 acres (77 hectares) of vines, all planted to Chenin Blanc. The South/Southeast facing vineyards are planted on unique soils composed of schistous volcanic debris mixed with sandstone and granite, imparting a strong, intensely original minerality to the Chenin Blanc grape. Maximum permitted yields are the lowest in France for dry whites (25 Hectoliters per Hectare), resulting in wines of stunning concentration and perfume. The combination of this concentration with the naturally high acidity of the Chenin Blanc grape results in wines capable of lasting and improving for decades.

Domaine des Baumard produces some of the finest examples of Savennières. Jean Baumard and now his son, Florent, are universally regarded as the finest winemakers in the appellation. Their wines are among the most unique and rewarding in the world: honeyed, dry whites of unmatched concentration, perfume, and longevity.

Critical Acclaim

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WS 91
Wine Spectator

This is still tight, but shows piercing intensity to the lime, mineral, quince and pear flavors. The long, stony finish really reverberates. Could use a little time. Drink now through 2011. 5,000 cases made.

WE 90
Wine Enthusiast

A beautifully crisp wine, fresh and leaping with green fruits. This wine is characterized by its steely core and great acidity, with green plum skins and a structure that promises a long, slow development.

RP 89
The Wine Advocate

The Baumard 2004 Savennieres introduces a fascinatingly musky, faintly sweaty, animal suggestion to a nose otherwise dominated by lemon, grapefruit and peach. In the mouth, it blossoms to layers of fresh peach and quince, brine and chalk minerality, finishing persistently with musky florality, anise, and subtle bitterness of herbs, alkaline minerality, and fruit skin. This should be fascinating to follow over at least a 6-8 year period. As my descriptors indicate, both the 2003 and 2004 Baumard Savennieres give prominence to the rather reductive youthful side of Chenin, and I cannot help but wonder whether this has been enhanced by their use of screw caps as closures.

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Domaine des Baumard

Domaine des Baumard

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Domaine des Baumard, , France - Other regions
Domaine des Baumard
The Baumard family has been wine growing wine at Rochefort in the Anjou for centuries, working with the noble Chenin in what has long been accepted as its natural home, the slate-covered hillside vineyards along the Loire and Layton rivers. In 1953, the Baumard family acquired a vineyard in the Quarts de Chaume, and in 1968, purchased substantial acreage in Savennieres. Jean Baumard, an enologist and educator, as well as grower, introduced significant innovations to the winemaking region, bringing the dry wines of Savennieres, as well as his sweet wines, Quarts de Chaumes and Coteaux du Layon back to prominence. Now in retirement, further innovation has been carried on by Jean's son, Florent.

Napa Valley

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One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

In the Glass

Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

Perfect Pairings

Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

Sommelier Secret

Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

HNYDBDSAS04C_2004 Item# 89200

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