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2008 Savennières, Clos du Papillon, Domaine du Closel
Domaine du Closel in Savennières has a history stretching back to the Napoleonic era and produces marvellously intense, dry white wines. Today it is owned and run by Mme. de Jessey, who inherited it from her aunt, and her daughter Evelyne de Pontbriand. They have 12 hectares of vineyards planted with Chenin Blanc, some of which are 70 years old.
The wines are fermented and matured in oak barrels. 3 different cuvées of Savennières are produced, and it is the Clos du Papillon, which is made from grapes grown on schist and limestone, that shows the greatest intensity, concentration and ageing potential.
Chenin Blanc is an important white grape variety planted in the Anjou-Saumur and Touraine regions of the Loire Valley and the most widely planted varietal grape in South Africa.
In the Loire it produces high quality dry wines in Savenniéres, and luscious sweet, dessert wines in Coteaux du Layon, Bonnezeaux and Quarts de Chaume. In Vouvray and Montlouis it can be dry, medium dry, or sweet, and still or sparkling. Whether dry or sweet, the best Loire Chenin Blancs possess marvellously concentrated rich, honeyed fruit together with refreshingly vibrant acidity. It is Chenin Blanc's high acidity that enable the wines to age so well.
In South Africa Chenin Blanc is easier to grow and is prized for its versatility. It is used as a cheap blending option with Chardonnay, Colombard, and Muscat but also bottled unblended. The best producers keep their yields low and produce impressive mouthfilling wines.
Savennières is a tiny white Anjou appellation (comprising Savennières, Savennières-Coulée-de-Serrant, and Savennières-Roche-aux-Moines) revered for its dry, full-bodied Chenin Blanc wines, grown on the ancient schistous/volcanic soils on the southern banks of the Loire. The best are hand-harvested by trie (often with a degree of noble rot), before being pressed and aged in oak barrels. Domaine du Closel is a good source.