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Francois Chidaine Montlouis Les Tuffeaux 2005

Chenin Blanc from Loire, France
  • RP94
  • WS91
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Winemaker Notes

"Assembled from numerous parcels and only discretely sweet (even if surprisingly high in residual sugar), the Chidaine 2005 Montlouis Les Tuffeaux is a marvel and the most youthfully expressive wine in Chidaine's current collection. With an ethereal aroma that alone is worth the price of a bottle, this fills the nostrils and imagination with myriad flowers, pit fruits, citrus, tropical fruits. Waxy rather than creamy in texture, and almost nobly rich in its honeyed way, with effusive ripe quince, banana and pink grapefruit tinged with salt and chalk, this cuvee finishes with purity, penetration, and remarkable persistence."
-Wine Advocate

Critical Acclaim

RP 94
The Wine Advocate

WS 91
Wine Spectator

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Francois Chidaine

Francois Chidaine

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Francois Chidaine, , France - Other regions
Francois Chidaine
Montlouis is an appellation of 400 hectares located directly across the river from Vouvray. (Until it was granted AOC status in 1937, Montlouis wines were under the Vouvray appellation.) The soils in both places are quite similar: sandy clay on a base of tuffeau. Some say that a slightly higher percentage of sand and pebbles in the Montlouis soil makes the wines somewhat leaner than the wines of Vouvray. For us, this trait adds to the charm of Montlouis's sec wines, giving them a lively crispness on the palate and outstanding minerality.

François Chidaine has worked alongside his father Yves for many years, in two independent estates. He works his vines the old-fashioned way, but does not want any mention of organic viticulture on his bottles even though he is certified organic. He champions the Chenin Blanc grape and its ability to produce vibrant wines that age gracefully.

Chidaine's estate is divided into 8 distinct plots, with much of the vineyards between 40 and 80 years old. Clos de Breuil is Chidaine's sec, or dry, cuvée of Montlouis, while Clos Habert and Tuffeaux are demi-sec, or off-dry cuvées. A stunning Méthode Traditionnelle, or pétillant, is made with grapes from younger vines.

Praised for its stately Renaissance-era chateaux as well as its diverse variety of wines...

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Praised for its stately Renaissance-era chateaux as well as its diverse variety of wines, the picturesque Loire valley produces elegant and underrated red, white, and rosé as well as sparkling and sweet wines. Just south of Paris, the appellation lies along the river of the same name and stretches from the center of France to the Atlantic coast. Geography and climate differ greatly along the Loire’s vast length. Furthest inland, the climate is continental, becoming classically maritime as it reaches the ocean. Accordingly, the Loire Valley is perhaps the most diverse wine-producing region in France—this region does a little bit of everything, and it does it all quite well.

The Loire can be divided into three main growing areas, from west to east: the Lower Loire, Middle Loire, and Upper/Central Loire. The Pay Nantais region of the Lower Loire is focused on acidic, saline whites that beg for fresh seafood. Muscadet, made from the Melon de Bourgogne variety, is the most noteworthy appellation here. The Middle Loire contains Anjou, Saumur, and Touraine. In Anjou, Chenin Blanc reaches its zenith, producing outstanding dry and sweet wines reminiscent of crisp apples dipped in honey. Cabernet Franc dominates red and rosé production here, supported often by Grolleau and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling Crémant de Loire is a specialty of Saumur. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc are common in Touraine as well, along with Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, and Malbec (known locally as Côt). The Upper Loire is Sauvignon Blanc country, home to the world-renowned appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Pinot Noir and Gamay produce bright, easy-drinking red wines here.

Sauvignon Blanc

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A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character...

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A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon Blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. A couple of commonalities always exist, however—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and is important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand and California, while Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon Blanc. High-quality Sauvignon Blanc is also produced in Washington State, Australia, and parts of northern Italy.

In the Glass

From its homeland in the Loire Valley, where citrus, flinty, and smoky flavors shine through in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume, to Marlborough, New Zealand, where it is pungent, racy, and “green” (think grass, leaves, gooseberries, and bell peppers) and tastes of grapefruit and passionfruit, Sauvignon Blanc has something to offer every wine drinker. In Bordeaux, it is typically blended with Sémillon and Muscadelle to produce a softer, richer style. In California, any of the aforementioned styles can be emulated.

Perfect Pairings

The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor—from bell pepper and cut grass to passionfruit, gooseberry, and ripe kiwi lend it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood, and mild Asian dishes. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like goat cheese and asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.

PSNFCD029_2005 Item# 93597

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