Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (Jacky Blot), Montlouis-sur-Loire “Clos de Mosny”
Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (Jacky Blot), Montlouis-sur-Loire “Clos de Mosny”

Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (Jacky Blot), Montlouis-sur-Loire “Clos de Mosny”

Loire Valley, France 2021 (750mL)
Regular price$45.00

Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (Jacky Blot), Montlouis-sur-Loire “Clos de Mosny”

If there’s anyone out there still crazy enough to rank Chenin Blanc behind Chardonnay or Riesling on the “nobility” scale, this bone-dry showstopper from the late, great Jacky Blot will set you straight. To say that Blot helped put the Montlouis AOC “on the map” is putting it mildly; he was instrumental in turning this part of the Central Loire into a white wine destination to rival Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune or Germany’s Mosel. Blot burst onto the scene back in 1988, when he purchased about eight hectares of 50- to 75-year-old vineyards in Montlouis, and today’s exquisite dry Chenin hails from his monopole (solely owned) site called “Clos de Mosny”—a perfectly south-facing slope with 50-year-old vines rooted in flint and limestone. There’s plenty of that mineral soil character in evidence in this spine-tingling 2021, along with lots of saturated fruit framed by live-wire acidity. The proportions and the price are spot-on: This is a white wine benchmark that no serious aficionado should miss.

Montlouis, as Loire Valley wine lovers know, is right across the Loire River from Vouvray. And some would argue, convincingly, that Montlouis wines from the likes of Blot and François Chidaine are eclipsing those of their more-famous neighbors. One thing Blot is known for is a more resolutely dry take on Chenin Blanc, whereas many “dry” Vouvrays still contain significant levels of residual sugar, which lends roundness to the texture and accentuates the variety’s bruised apple/quince fruit. As acclaimed author Jon Bonné notes, Blot “…believes sugar blurs Chenin’s ability to transparently reveal its best qualities, which is why his winemaking is almost fanatically Burgundian, although he prefers to describe it as ‘the school of Montlouis.’ He ferments all his whites in barrels. And rather than a cold, quick fermentation meant to highlight aromas, he borrows from Burgundy’s elite cadre, winemakers like Jean-François Coche (of Coche-Dury) and Jean-Marc Roulot (of Domaine Roulot): he exposes the grape must to oxygen before a long, slow fermentation and leaves the finished wine in steel tanks for months before bottling, which firms up the texture.”

Blot, who passed away last May, maintained wine estates in both Montlouis (Domaine de la Taille aux Loups) and Bourgueil (Domaine de la Butte). Among the Montlouis estate’s myriad old-vine parcels, the Clos de Mosny is one of the most prized, with vines averaging more than 50 years of age enjoying a pure-south exposure. Interestingly, the Clos de Mosny fruit is fermented and aged in barrels (lending nice texture on the palate), but the wine is not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, which keeps the acidity extra bright. What you are sure to notice upon tasting this ’21 is its precision balance: it is assertively aromatic, fleshy on the palate, and yet it buttons up on the finish with a wave of freshness and a firm mineral grip. Not a hair is out of place, you might say.

In the glass, this ’21 is a shimmering straw-gold with green and silver highlights. The aromas encapsulate all the aspects of Chenin Blanc without any of the oxidative traits that drag some of these wines down. It is incredibly complex, with aromatics of chamomile, honey, yellow apple, quince, and yellow flowers. The palate is fresh, with white and yellow flowers, beeswax, Meyer lemon, a hint of crushed oyster shell and chalk, all balanced out by a creamy, leesy mouthfeel and mouthwatering acidity. For best results, decant it for 30 minutes or so, allowing it to come up to about 50 degrees, and don’t hesitate to lay a few bottles down: it will age gracefully for 5-10 years with ease, as its firm acid/mineral backbone will make immediately clear. The Loire Valley is known as the “garden of France” thanks to its dense concentration of vineyards, orchards, and other farms, and the combination of lush fruit and bracing acid in a Chenin like this one makes it a great wine for savory recipes that incorporate fruit. The attached Thai-style preparation should be an absolute knockout with this wine. Enjoy!

Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (Jacky Blot), Montlouis-sur-Loire “Clos de Mosny”

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