Domaine François Chidaine 2014 – Mastering both Vouvray and Montlouis

François Chidaine has built an impressive estate from his modest start in 1989 when he bought his first vineyards and took over 3 hectares from his father. Today he controls approximately 37 hectares in the Loire region, where Montlouis is dominant with 20 hectares but they also have 10 hectares in Vouvray and 7 in Touraine. His position is quite unique since few winemakers are well established in both Montlouis and Vouvray. The expansion into Vouvray came when François got the chance to take over responsibility for Philippe Poniatowskis vineyards in Vouvray and later he took over ownership. This transition was not completely smooth, but have resulted in an impressive collection of vineyards in both villages. More recently they have also bought some vineyards in southern Spain.

Quite early in his career François has been moving over to organic winemaking and eventually biodynamic, and since 2003 the Domaine is certified biodynamic. The wine is aging in 600 liters barrels of which approximately 10 percent are replaced each year. They seek to avoid getting wood notes in their wines.

In general the wins from Vouvray have a bit higher levels of acidity than the wines from Montlouis.

2013 Sauvignon Touraine

Classical Sauvignon blanc but not over the top with nettles. Fresh and pure wine with a very precise acidity. Simple but very likable and easy drinking Sauvignon blanc.

84p

2013 Touraine Rosé

Another easy drinking wine which shows quality and freshness but not complexity. An abundance of red, almost sweet, berries. Some tannic structure to give backbone to the wine.

85p

2010 Vouvray Petillant

Quite closed on the nose but still some very fresh citric notes and some exotic fruit in the background.

The wine opens up a bit more on the palate where we find grape fruit, lime, some anise and mineral notes. The bubbles are fantastic, small and soft.

This wine is quite careful in the beginning but then shows more and more personality. A quality Petillant.

91p

2012 Montlouis Methode Traditionnelle Brut

The nose is quite expressive and fruity, showing several exotic fruits.

The taste is also quite fleshy with similar fruit and some notes of bread. This is a generous sparkling wine.

90p

2013 Montlouis Clos du Breuil Sec

From vines are 50-90 years old. Residual sugar less than 1 g/l.

Fantastic freshness on the nose with light citric notes, exotic fruit and some hints of ginger.

The wine is very acidic and there is less fruit on the pallet where we also find some hints of Chenin blanc wool and fresh minerals. In the finish the acidity takes over, and in general the acidity needs to calm down a bit before the wine gets balanced.

This is a precise and fresh wine that should be stored for a while before opening.

91-92p

2012 Vouvray Les Argiles Sec

This wine is a blend from different vineyards and the terroir has clay and sand.

In this wine the fruit takes a quite dominant position on the nose, showing pineapple and other exotic fruits, but also notes of flint.

The pallet contains the same fruit but also has ha high level of acidity, especially in the finish.

A wine, which is quite fleshy and generous.

91p

2012 Vouvray Clos Baudoin

Soil of clay and limestone with vines which are approximately 70 years old.

Fresh and cool nose with lime and pineapples in a nice balance but also some flint and minerals.

The exotic fruit takes a further step forward on the palate and we also find some surprising hints of oak.

This wine shows a good balance between fresh coolness and fruit.

92p

2011 Montlouis Les Choisilles

Flint in the soil. Gives minerals and acidity.

The nose is quite dense, both from fruit but also from honey in the background. Lots of pineapple and peach but also some hints of smokiness.

Generous wine where the acidity takes a back seat to the fruit. The character is probably mainly an effect of the vintage, which produces fruity wines.

88p

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2011 Montlouis Les Bournais

Quite young vines planted around 1995, in a very attractive terroir of limestone.

The nose is fruity and expressive with lots of tropical fruit and some minerals in the backgrounds.

Very pleasant and precise acidity that combines well with the pineapple and other tropical fruits we find together with lime. The crisp acidity stays in rather long finish.

The Les Bournais is a vibrant wine where the fruit and acidity both competes and complements each other.

92p

2011 Franc de Pied Les BournaisFrançois Chidaine

Same vineyard as the last wine but from ungrafted vines, i.e. not grown on American root stocks. These vines have a very low yield. They still have phylloxera in the ground so this is quite risky.

The wine is very concentrated, not only with fruit. We find yellow apples, tropical fruit and minerals on this complex nose.

The palate is very much in sync with the nose, but has slightly less fruit. The alcohol feels rather present in the wine but with this level of density the wine does not get unbalanced. Very long long finish with fruit and minerals.

This is a fantastic wine with high level of complexity and it will be exiting to follow the future vintages.

93p

2011 Montlouis Clos Habert

Seductive nose with honey, lime, grape fruit, pineapple, and fresh minerals.

Even though the level of sugar is quite low for a Tendre, it comes trough clearly on the palate, together with the fantastic fruit and minerals. There is a slight grape bitterness in the finish.

This is a complex wine with lots of personality, especially on the nose.

91p

2010 Montlouis Les Tuffeaux (Demi-Sec)

This wine is a blend of different vineyards.

Rather careful in the beginning and the nose almost has a wateriness to it. After a while some flint, minerals and exotic fruit appear.

Fresh young pineapple, an abundance of lime and minerals and a fantastic citric acidity to back up the sweetness in the wine

This is a slim and very precise wine that need some time before it opens up completely.

91p

2007 Vouvray Le Bouchet

A quite heavy nose with honey, flint and some exotic fruit in the background.

The acidity is a bit harsh and not as precise as we would hope for. We also find honey and some citric notes.

The Les Bouchet has a strong and generous personality, but lacks some precision and elegance.

89p

François Chidaine

2010 Montlouis-sur-Loire Moelleux

Residual sugar at 40 g/l.

Very aromatic nose with an abundance of honey that transfer over to the palate where we also find high levels of acidity. These are the dominant expressions of the wine and they compete for dominance but fortunately it ends in a tie and the wine is rather well balanced.

This is a generous wine with great personality. It would work well together with food.

92p

2010 Vouvray Moelleux

Residual sugar at 70 g/l.

Dense nose with lots of honey and some ripe exotic fruit.

The acidity is amazingly precise and saves the wine from being too heavy which could have been a problem considering the density. There is much of everything in this wine.

92p

François Chidaine

2009 Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Lys

This wine is only produced when they have botrytis.

Here we find lots of apricot and some quite fresh honey on both the nose and later on the palate. There is a tingling acidity which complements the quite dense taste of honey. A complex and generous wine.

94p

Summary

François Chidaine has an amazing range of vineyards with great terroir making a tasting of their range good introduction to the region. His wines show great precision and often with strong personality. This is definitely a producer worth following closely.

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