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Nicolas Joly Savennieres Clos de la Coulee de Serrant 2013

Chenin Blanc from Anjou, Loire, France
  • W&S93
0% ABV
  • W&S94
  • RP95
  • W&S90
  • WE96
  • WS92
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Winemaker Notes

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 93
Wine & Spirits
First planted in 1130 by Cistercian monks, the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant has been in the Joly family since 1962. Nicolas Joly began converting the family domaine to biodynamics in 1981 and has been a leader in the movement to apply Rudolf Steiner’s agricultural philosophy to the vine. His daughter, Virginie, worked her first harvest in 2002, and has brought a pragmatic vision to her father’s holistic goals. The 17.2 acres of vines at the Clos are between 35 and 80 years old, growing on steep schist slopes. The wine ferments and ages in 500-liter barrels, with no more than five percent new oak in a vintage. Whether or not you appreciate the style and the sometimes-oxidative character, there are no other wines like it. Deep gold in color, dark in its earthy savor, this layers floral scents, ginger and ripe pineapple with earthy notes of schist. It has a kind of invisible freshness, open and racy, delicately detailed. Give this time in the cellar and plenty of air; it is used to oxygen and only gains freshness over the course of several days open.
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Nicolas Joly

Nicolas Joly

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Nicolas Joly, Anjou, Loire, France
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Nicolas Joly returned, leaving behind a career in finance, to the fabled Coulée de Serrant in 1977. The celebrated vineyard, which comprises its own appellation, was planted in the 1130s. At first he implemented modern agricultural methods, but afters three years he became troubled by subtle but noticeable alterations in the vineyards. After reading a book on biodynamics that he picked up by chance, he became fascinated by the concept, and embarked on a experimental reconversion of a small area of vineyards. Rapidly convinced by the results, he started to implement biodynamic practices across the estate and has been Demeter and Ecocert certified since 1984. In 2001, he founded "La Renaissance des Appellations/Return to Terroir" and today the organization boasts 140 producers from around world. He has written many books on the subject, and is widely considered a pioneer and leader of the biodynamic wine movement.

Known for its delightful whites and sparkling Pétillant and Mousseux, made predominantly of Chenin blanc, Anjou has a temperate and dry maritime climate. The region's limited temperature variations are admiringly referred to locally as the “douceur angevine,” or “Anjou sweetness.” Fruit forward rosé and red wines from Cabernet Franc and Gamay merit Anjou its success within the Loire subregions.

Chenin Blanc

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Unquestionably one of the most diverse grape varieties, Chenin blanc can do it all. It shines in every style from bone dry to unctuously sweet, oaked or unoaked, still or sparkling and even as the base for fortified wines and spirits. Perhaps Chenin blanc’s greatest asset is its ever-present acidity, maintained even under warm growing conditions. While most would agree it reigns supreme when from its birthplace of the Loire Valley, Chenin is the most planted variety in South Africa. California’s Clarksburg appellation is also winning more notoriety for its Chenin.

In the Glass

Chenin's drier versions commonly have characteristics of passion fruit, lemon, quince, green apple, saffron and chamomile while sweeter version express aromas and flavors such as yellow pear, white peach, persimmon, melon, ginger and honeysuckle. When aged in oak, qualities like meringue and brioche can be found. Sparkling versions often have yellow apple, ginger and floral notes.

Perfect Pairings

Cool-climate Chenin blanc has the chalky acidity to work with light seafood such as oysters and shellfish. Off-dry styles work well with the sweet-and-sour nature of Thai and Vietnamese food. The sparkling versions such as Saumur Mousseux, Vouvray Petillant and Crémant de Loire make amazing aperitif options that won’t bruise the pocketbook.

Sommelier Secret

South Africa actually has double the amount of Chenin blanc planted compared to France. It is believed that either the Dutch navigator, Jan van Riebeeck, brought the grape to Cape Town in 1655 or the Huguenots fleeing France brought it in 1685. Either way, the South Africans have favored it for many centuries and make it in almost every style. Today a new wave of dedicated producers has committed to restoring old Chenin vines and finding the most ideal new spots for this prized variety.

DBW642213_2013 Item# 145566