The 2015 vintage in the Loire Valley may prove to be one of the finest in decades. In 2015 Florent Baumard has transformed the sensual, though sometimes mercurial, Chenin Blanc varietal into a bevy of truly outstanding wines, both dry and sweet. In the case of Baumard’s 2015 Savennières, we are looking at a refreshingly dry Chenin Blanc that offers the ideal tension between voluptuous fruit and bright acidity. Awarded 94 points by Wine Spectator and top billing as a Wine Spectator Smart Buy, Domaine des Baumard’s 2015 Savennières should not be missed. It opens with an alluring aroma of quince, poached pear, and verbena with an underpinning of racy minerality. In the mouth the wine displays a firm structure, an overlay of creamy fruit, touches of quinine, and a long, bright, mineral driven finish born of Savennières’ limestone rich soil. In its absolute infancy, this wine is already beautiful, but in true Baumard fashion the 2015 Savennières is built for the long haul and will easily improve for a decade or more. For optimal enjoyment now we suggest consuming the 2015 Baumard Savennières moderately chilled (40°-45º F) to highlight every bit of the subtle charm that Florent Baumard and the illustrious terroir of Savennières have to offer. We also suggest that one allow this outstanding wine some time in the glass to breathe before savoring it. For savvy collectors and the patient among us, we suggest acquiring a few extra bottles to put away: Baumard’s Savennières offerings are some of the longest lived white wines in the world. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2030. Salut!
A wine as racy and sensuous as the 2015 Baumard Savennières deserves the company of exquisite fare. Poached salmon with a light fennel cream sauce, steamed lobster served with drawn butter, grilled prawns with a savory aioli, and nearly any white fish will make a fine accompaniment to Florent Baumard’s exquisite Savennières. Poultry and savory pork dishes provide outstanding companions to this wine, too. Perhaps surprising to some, foie gras, country pâtés, and creamy hard cheeses such as Mimolette from Normandy and Brittany offer outstanding complements to Savennières and are perennial favorites with Savennières in France. One could also consider a myriad of Asian fusion specialties with the 2015 Baumard Savennières. Even moderately spicy Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese appetizers will not overpower this racy, personality filled white wine. Bon appétit!
Domaine des Baumard lies tucked away in the tiny village of Rochefort-sur-Loire, just south of Savennières, in the very heart of the ancient Duchy of Anjou. This property is an impeccably run estate that has been fashioning outstanding Loire Valley wines since 1634. The historical Baumards are viticulturists who specialize in the great but now nearly forsaken Chenin Blanc variety. However, under the expert guardianship of the dynamic Florent Baumard, Domaine des Baumard has soared to new heights, even as many of Baumard’s neighbors have struggled to maintain their marginal vineyards.
Although Domaine des Baumard has played a key role in producing great Loire Valley wines for centuries, much of the modern day lore can be attributed to Jean Baumard, Florent’s father, who resurrected this family property in the 1950s and 1960s after decades of decline due to phyloxerra, economic depression, and the ever shifting tastes of the wine drinking public. For decades the Baumards, like many of their neighbors, were forced to concentrate their efforts on their nursery business and the cultivation of vines rather than wine making. That is until the 1950s when Jean began acquiring several of the greatest vineyards in Côteaux-du-Layon, Savennières, and Quarts de Chaume and refocused the family’s effort into the crafting of the greatest of all Loire Valley wines.
In the past decade Florent Baumard, a brilliant winemaker in his own right, has continued the great renaissance at Domaine des Baumard. Today, Florent may in fact be the region’s finest winemaker. Robert Parker of Wine Advocate has stated that “Baumard quietly fashions some the world’s most complex dry and sweet wines… and if he had been born a Californian, Burgundian, or Bordelais, wealthy vineyard owners would be standing in line to employ his services as a consultant.” And about Domaine des Baumard’s wine Matt Kramer of Wine Spectator has stated, “If there ever was God in a glass, this is it.”
Presently, Domaine des Baumard has one of the most extensive portfolios of Anjou wines, including outstanding dry Savennières offerings, sweet treasures from Côteaux-du-Layon and Quarts de Chaume, a host of artful cuvees, and at least three of the Loire Valley’s most enjoyable sparkling wines. There are also a number of single vineyard offerings. All of Baumard’s Savennières and Côteaux-du-Layon wines are produced from low yields (1.5-2.5 tons per acre). Moreover, all of Baumard’s wines are hand harvested and each of the estate’s wines is made in small, individual lots.
The Loire is France’s longest and most scenic river. Moreover, it gives rise to some of the world’s most distinguished white wines. The Upper Loire, above Orléans, is famous for a myriad of Sauvignon Blanc wines in the guise of Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, and assorted other place names such as Quincy and Menetou-Salon. However, as one moves downriver towards Touraine and Anjou, other grape varieties come to fore. And by the time one gets to Côteaux-du-Layon and Savennières, Chenin Blanc reigns supreme where no more glorious and immortal white wines are produced in France than those of the finest vineyards of Savennières and Côteaux-du-Layon.
Savennières is situated just west of Angers. It is a tiny appellation that produces miniscule quantities of powerful, long lived white wines of outstanding quality from Chenin Blanc. Nearly all of its meager 12,000 case production is made dry. This splendid appellation includes two Grand Cru vineyards, Roche aux Moines and Coulée de Serrant. Baumard’s Savennières is consistently one of the appellation’s finest wines.
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