Domaine aux Moines, Savennières-Roche aux Moines, Loire, France, 2019
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Overview of the Wine
Domaine aux Moines was founded in 1981, though there are records of vineyards planted in the region since the middle ages, when the monks (“moines” in French) from the Abbaye de St Nicolas tended vines. It is now run by the energetic mother-daughter team of Monique and Tessa Laroche. The estate comprises 9.6 Ha of Chenin Blanc and .8 Ha Cabernet Franc. The vineyards are all south and southwest facing hillsides in the sub-appellation of "Roche Aux Moines".
Savennieres is located on the Western edge of the Anjou region in the Loire valley, not far from the city of Angers. The vineyards are located on hillsides along the Loire river. The proximity to the river helps to temper the cold of the region as well as to encourage ripeness and protect against springtime frosts. The soils in Savennières are predominantly schists with some sandstone and clay. They tend to produce a flinty, drier style Chenin Blanc that can age for a long time.
The estate has always taken a natural approach in their vineyard work and cellar practices. Since the beginning, they practiced “lutte raisonnée” (sustainable agriculture), though are officially in conversion to Organic certification (Eco-cert) as of 2008. Yields are kept extremely low, which -- by law in "Roche Aux Moines" -- means under 30 h/h, and often less. All work is done by hand including the harvest which occurs slowly over a few weeks (5-6 “tries” or pickings). The wines are all fermented with indigenous yeasts, and aged in a combo of tank and cask (220 and 400-liter, mostly used), with usually 65-75% tank and the rest wood. Bottling is done around 9-10 months after harvest, though the winery stocks vintages for sale back almost 20 years!
Grape / Blend
100% Chenin Blanc
Loire Valley, France
Light yellow with a bit of haze (this is Laroche’s first release working with no sulfur added). Charming, expressive, fruity nose of tangerine, pineapple, and pear. Rich and lush in the mouth, with more ripe pear and crisp apple, and a deep core of smokiness that carries through the incredibly long mineral finish. Precise, fresh, and great depth.
The vineyards stand next to the famed 'Coulée de Serrant' on South-West facing hillsides of predominately schist soils. Since her arrival Tessa has been improving every detail to be able to make more precise, transparent, complex wines. The results are spectacular and she is now one of the best examples of Roche-aux-Moines, and of course also Savennières. "This vintage the crop came in at 21 hl/ha, the juice vinified 95% in barrels and 5% in cuves. The nose is very finely polished and crystalline, with a smoky and reductive edge, with enticing scents of white peach and freesias. The palate has a delicious harmony and a vinous presence, supple and textured, sinewy and complete, with notes of orange peel, chamomile, and honeysuckle. This is all laid out on a frame of charged minerality and acidity. A wine with sweet energy and great length, this can only be described as fantastic.
92 Points - Adrian van Velsen - vvWine.ch
Once again a nose to dive into, you like the oxidative or not, I love it. Complex, stony, with apple, quince, a poem. Strong, dense, incredibly mineral on the palate, with opulence and elegance, the saltiness, the length, the balance, once again outstandingly successful and worth every cent.
Product size: 750ml