Our recent visit to see Pierre and Brigitte Van Den Boom allowed us to test the 2010 Saumur Blanc, Rouge and Puy Notre Dame in the vats. I will report separately on the barrel aged red and white wines.
Pierre has a traditional chai where you have to literally climb up old stairs to the top of the vats that are all in line and he then opens the top access hatch to be able to sample the wines. You have to be careful not to knock your head on the roof beams and keep clear of the empty open vats. There are no sampling taps on the side of the vats like the modern stainless steel. But hey that is all part of the fun and enjoyment of being closely involved with the wine making processes of all our winemakers. We climb those steps on a regular basis sometimes just with Pierre and sometimes with our wine tour guests.
The blanc came first in the line of vats. Its near right for bottling. The lees contact has allowed a more complex flavour to develop. Pierre also uses batonnage ( stirring of the lees in the wine to impart more flavour) by the use of a traditional stirring implement once a week. The wine has a clean and honied palette with good balance of sugar and acidity, and the finish is long on the fruit. This will turn out to be a good vintage.
Next in line the Saumur Puy Notre Dame vat. Both reds have been through malolactic fermentation and so the smoothness is there. Pierre has again created a sublimely structured wine with loads of fruit with strong cherries coupled with a good body with tannins resulting from the late harvesting. Last year he swept the board with his awards. I reckon it’ll be the same for the 2010 vintage. Any bets?
Saumur Rouge again has the fruits but probably slightly on the small fruits redcurrants and with a fresher palette. The terroir is different and this imparts smaller mineral notes in the wine. The geology is a deeper tuffeau (limestone) and a thicker layer of clay above. This is great news because it gives us the ability at Manoir de Gourin to pair these wines with different food for our wine tasting dinners.
All in all a very good visit. The 2010 vinatge will be as good as 2009. Two years on the trot. Great news for our customers.
Further news to all our trade customers coming to see us at the LIWF. Philippe Porche of Domaine de Rocheville will be personally presenting his wines at the fair with us.
The wines he will be presenting are:
2010 Cabernet de Saumur AOC ‘Le Troubadour’ pink
2008 and 2009 Saumur Champigny AOC ‘Le Page’ red
2008 and 2009 Saumur Champigny AOC ‘Le Prince’ red
2006 Saumur Champigny AOC ‘Le Roi’ red
2009 Saumur AOC ‘La Dame’ white
Philippe has included consecutive vintages of the ‘Le Page’ and ‘Le Prince’ to allow comparison of the merits of each one. They are distinctive and there will be some who will prefer one to the other and visa verse which makes these wines so special and unique. There is no effort as in most other countries to try and make year on year bland similar vintages with no enjoyment or excitement. These will be tastings that will excite the wine connoisseur (and we believe our retail customers as well) and lead to some debate as to the merits of each vintage. That’s why these boutique winemakers are so damn good at making wine and in our view why the appellation system is also just as important. In each vintage the essence of the Saumur Champigny style is retained as the cornerstone of the appellation giving in each vintage the elegance of the wine as something to be savoured and enjoyed, and that is what Philippe has manged to accomplish very well indeed.
We look forward to meeting our customers and guests at the fair on the 17 to 19 May at ExCel. See you there.