Chenin & Muscadet – Wine & Spirits Magazine

Chenin & Muscadet


93 | Château de Bois-Brinçon | $35

2019 Anjou Terre de Grès Blaison

Last October, Xavier Cailleau was excited to show this visitor the highland cattle he keeps on his property—ten adults and a calf. He likes the energy they bring to the domaine. He and his wife, Géraldine, have practiced biodynamics since 2009, going so far as to return composted must to the parcel from which it came. This 2019 offers its own wild energy in a chewy texture and fresh aromas. A natty edge adds complexity around the edges, and, though all my notes make it sound rich (lemon caramel, honeyed pear, blonde taffy without the sweetness), the overall impression is of an elegant rusticity, combining white mushrooms and apple cider in the way great chenins can. This one, from vines averaging 50 years old, presents a patchwork of complexity—not unlike the way the vines and the cattle inhabit the same ground at the Cailleaus’ estate. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY

93 | Saget la Perrière | $23

2018 Vouvray Marie de Beauregard

A top selection from an estate near the village of Vouvray, this wine is opulent and suffused with floral aromas—it reminded me of viognier before the acidity slapped me in the face and made me call it chenin. It weaves pear-blossom florals and spiced, poached pear richness together in a shifting tapestry. Concentrated and ripe as a young wine, this could use more time in bottle to firm up the stitch. When it comes to dinner, treat it like a fully dry chenin, a match for a floral, washed-rind cheese. Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, FL

92 | Château de Montfort | $22

2020 Vouvray

A distinct salinity seasons the floral pear richness in this chenin, the alcohol imbuing the wine with energy. It feels healthy and vivacious, with threads of flavors bound up in a cord. It's fun to try to unravel those threads—orchid bloom, candied lemon, beeswax richness—and while there is sweetness, the energy overpowers it, making it barely perceptible by the finish. Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, FL

91 | Domaine Vincent Carême | $37

2018 Vouvray Plaisir Ancestral

Dark, honeyed-pear flavors fill out this buxom sparkler. The “ancestral” fermentation leaves some sweetness to deepen the flavors, even as the wine is well structured by its acidity. A leesy apple-skin crunch makes it seem golden—like the late afternoon sun—and it would be wholesome and pleasurable to enjoy at sunset. Cape Classics, NY

91 | Maison Darragon | $18

2020 Vouvray Le Haut des Ruettes Chenin Blanc

The Darragon family have been making wine in Vouvray since 1761. Their latest demi-sec chenin has good length and attractive honeyed-pear, pâte-de-fruits richness in the finish. There’s some reductive funk that blows off—give it an aggressive decant in a Mason jar to introduce friends to friendly chenin. Kindred Vines, Troy, MI

91 | Fabien Duveau | $29

2020 Saumur-Champigny St-Cyr La Hunaudière

Rustically satisfying, this wine's Meyer lemon and floral aromas leap from the glass, its texture as rich as honeycomb. The wine smells like a new pack of blackboard chalk, offering minerality to balance the richness, aided by faint, measured tannins. Pour it next to Arctic char, either roasted on one side until the skin is crispy or served raw. Schatzi Wines, Milan, NY

91 | Domaine Laffourcade | $27

2018 Savennieres

Pascal Laffourcade acquired vines in Savennières in 1988. Thirty years on, he captured something arresting in this wine’s pear flavors—the intrigue of Savennières, the particular way it marries ripping acidity with honey, bruised apple and button-mushroom flavors. Pour it with a creamy mushroom soup. Shiverick Imports, Los Angeles, CA

90 | Boutinot | $23

2020 Vouvray Les Coteaux Tufiers

Ginger-tinged, juicy pear fruit abounds in this wholesome chenin, and energetic acidity drives the finish towards delicate Fuji apple. Boutinot USA, Sanford, FL

90 | Maison Darragon | $18

2020 Vouvray Les Tuffes Chenin Blanc

Fatty pear richness grapples with a linear acidity in this dry Vouvray. It’s tightly wound around that power; as it uncoils, it reveals a fresh, zesty and slightly floral chenin that can match the richness of a double-crème cheese or a vichyssoiseKindred Vines, Troy, MI

90 | Pascal Janvier | $24

2020 Jasnières

Pretty white floral aromas aren't lost amid the concentrated apple and waxy-honey texture in this chenin from Jasnières, north of Tours. Wild lemon flavors make the profile more rustic, with the freshness of Pink Lady apples in the finish that would be delectable next to fresh scallops. Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant, Berkeley, CA

88 | Armand David | $23

2019 Saumur L'Enchanteur

This wine shows off chenin’s tropical side, with fleshy coconut and pineapple flavors, and a tense mango-juice buzz. JP Bourgeois, Asheville, NC

89 | La Fille Couillaud | $15

2020 Val de Loire Bernier Chardonnay

This chardonnay offers lean floral notes ahead of its fruit. Its finish gets richer, pulling the apple flavors towards apple butter, deepening them with the richness of coconut meat. Vineyard Brands, Birmingham, AL


91 | Alain de la Treille | $16

2020 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine

Here’s a Muscadet bursting with stone-fruit flavors—apricot, peach and nectarine. Some skin contact firms up its texture, while the citrusy acidity and floral notes peek through around the edges. It’s ready for the subtle sweetness of fresh shellfish, gently prepared. Kysela Père et Fils, Winchester, VA

90 | Saget la Perrière | $16

2019 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Les Clissages d'Or

This is satisfying summer wine, ready for a hard chill. Its flavors of whole lemon and lemon curd would be great for creamy Pacific oysters hauled out of the same cooler as the wine, some briny refreshment in the August sun. Taub Family Selections, Boca Raton, FL

Long periods of frost hit Northern France in April of 2020, decimating crops throughout the region. Vianney de Tastes of Château Soucherie protected his vines in Savennières by installing wires along his trellises to protect the new buds. Corey Warren reports.

Corey Warren is the Tastings Coordinator for the New York office.

This is a W&S web exclusive. Get access to all of our feature stories by signing up today.