Region: Savennières, Loire, France
Composition: 100% Chenin Blanc
Background: Anjou-Samur of the Loire is the second region in from the Atlantic coast (to the east of Nantais, which is on the coast) and enjoys a climate moderated by that body of water... mild winters, warm summers, good humidity. The main grape of importance in the area is Chenin Blanc, which is made in a variety of ways; historically it was sweet, but now the trend is to dryness. Within that region lies Savennières, a tiny (150 acre) appellation for white wines made from the Chenin Blanc grape.
Domaine du Closel, in Savennières, has a long and interesting history that ties into the appellation. Ownership of the property can be traced back to the grandson of Emmanuel-Augustin-Dieudonné-Marin-Joseph, the Marquis de Las Cases, who was an intimate and historian of Napoleon. From there it went to the Marquis' daughter, who married Bernard du Closel, a man who was at one point the mayor of Savennières (and a strong advocate who worked to get the region recognized as an official appellation, which happened in 1952). Madame du Closel had no children and thus gave the estate to her niece, Michèle Bazin de Jessey, in 1961. Madame de Jessey, who runs the estate with the help of her son and daughter, has always had a great love of wine and winemaking and even served as the first woman to be president of an appellation (the Savennières AC, of course).
The estate makes both red and white wines, but the white wines are the stars, as one would expect in the Loire. They farm and hand-pick the 30 acres of Chenin Blanc that they have planted, which, if you think about it, is about 1/5 of the total land devoted to the Savennières appellation.
Notes: Clear pure gold, this has a very forward nose of honeyed pears, dried grass, lemon zest, and tart apples. It's less fruity in the mouth...it has a lot of rocky gravel, dried grass and hay, and maybe some more lemon. The finish is very dry with some herbal and soft lemon flavors. It's pretty high acid, and makes a nice pairing with food (arugula, garlic, tomatoes, in this case), and the finish is long and clean. This wine is fermented in stainless steel and has the clean zippiness you get from wines fermented that way.