Crémant de Loire 2004
One third each of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Franc. Bready, yeasty, scents of strawberry and cream. Quite young, but already lovely, with notes of apple, lemon and red fruits on the palate. Nicely rich and satisfying.
Crémant de Loire Brut Rosé NV
100% Cabernet Franc, 18 months on the lees. Lovely pale onion skin colour. Notes of strawberry and apple. Less complex than the 2004, but drier and more focussed, with a lemon sherbert finish. Nice, but quite simple.
Clos Saint Yves 2001 Savennieres
Glycerous and perfumed - quince, lanolin and creamy cheese - smells almost sweet. Palate is almost bone dry - again with a lanolin richness, but steely minerality. Long.
Clos Saint Yves 2005 Savennieres
Lemony and still somewhat oaky. Dry n the palate, but quite resiny as well. Warmer and richer than the 2001 (more alcohol?) but still needs time to get into its stride.
Clos de Papillon 2006 Savennieres
This is really classic Savennieres. Wet dog, mineral, orange marmalade. The palate is intensely mineral and laden with zesty lime flavours. Still painfully young and even austere, but with an underlying richness and notes of anise and liquorice. Cracking wine.
Clos de Papillon 2005 Savennieres
Apples and wet wool, wet stones, flowers and cut grass. The palate is very definitely off-dry - a warmer year, so some residual sugar. Rich and honeyed, with a hint of cider. Less minerality, more texture and fruit. Lovely wine, if a little atypical.
Clos de Papillon 2001 Savennieres
Quince jelly, honey, cheese, mushroom, lanolin, apple pie and vanilla custard - a stunning nose! The palate is a riot of lemon and tart apple. Very minerally, too. Ultra-dry and classic.
Clos de Papillon 2000 Savennieres
Not very much on the nose at all. Hints of swimming pool, old wood and sous-bois - but no fruit or minerality. Not much on the palate, either. A bit of lemon, but strangely short on acidity and really quite flabby. Lacks depth. Not a good Papillon.
Trie Spéciale 2007
Andrew Jefford describes Trie Spéciale as "the apotheosis of Chenin Blanc, and unquestionably a wine to rival Corton-Charlemagne and Montrachet" and it is easy to see why. This 2007 has a stunning nose of caramelised tarte tatin, mineral, mixed spice, honey and cream. The oak is judicious and very subtle. Very much in the mould of a GC Burgundy - and the flavour profile is also very much like one, as well, with incredible richness and texture. Creamy, almost caramelly, honeyed, with spiced fruit nuances. Huge length and fantastic wine, though painfully young. Give it 5 to 10 years.
Then it was onto the sweet wines.........
Cuvée Le Paon 2005 Coteaux du Layon
A nose full of minerality and wet wool. The palate is rich and intensely sweet, but beautifully balanced by ample acidity. Barley sugar and creamy apples - Sussex pond pudding! Lovely stuff.
Cuvée Le Paon 2003 Coteaux du Layon
A bit dumb on the nose, though it smells dry. Hints of stone and apple, but not much else. Actually, there are some nice apple and barley sugar flavours, but it is less balanced (and actually less powerful) than the 2005. Perhaps it is just less "ripe", in the phenolic sense. A product of the year. If you have some, drink it sooner rather than later.
Clos de Sainte Catherine 2007 – Coteaux du Layon
My goodness this is fantastic! Cheesy, minerally, lots of lemon and apple/quince aromas. But that hardly prepares you for the palate, which is simply amazing. Intense flavours of lime and lemon marmalade, apples and pears, lemon meringue pie and sherbert dip - trust me, it's all in there!Sweetness to die for, but the acidity is just mouth-watering. But where does that sweetness come from, when the acidity is so intense? Yes, it is sweet but certainly not sugary, caramelly but not burnt. Luscious but tangy, this stuff really makes your tabs laugh. A stunning, complex, glorious wine. Truly great, and will last for absolutely decades - but why wait? Having said that, it will only get better - if such a thing is possible. I believe some or other American writer rated this 97/100, but that only serves to heighten my feeling that points cannot do justice to great wine. And 97 points is surely being mean, because this wine is bordering on perfection.
Clos de Sainte Catherine 2004 Coteaux du Layon
Well - talk about after the Lord Mayor's Show! Closed, dumb, shut. Most of us found this impossible to assess, especially after the 2007. There's probably a lovely wine in there somewhere, but it is just not in a good place at the moment.
Quarts de Chaume 2006
Mineral, herb, stone. Huge acidity and an amazing concentration of quince and apple fruit sweetness. Superbly balanced. But this is so young and needs 10 years to shed the puppy fat and soften some of that super-intense minerality that I sometimes find almost too much in Baumard's Quarts de Chaume.
Quarts de Chaume 1996
Much darker in colour and much more aromatic, with notes of quince, nuts, slate, lime marmalade, lychee, cheese, honey and mushroom - as I said before, it's all there! Huge concentration, with all of those aromas manifesting themselves on the palate, in a wine that is uber-complex and very definitely coming into its drinking window - and will stay there for many a year. Cracking wine, which is almost as good as the Clos de Sainte Catherine 2007........ but not quite!