Variety: Chenin Blanc
Country, Region: France, Loire
Appellation: Savennières Roche aux Moines
From a small 0.25 ha parcel rented from the Baron Brincard holdings in this famous vineyard, adjacent to Coulée de Serrant. Fermented and matured in 400L barrels.
‘This flagship cuvée originates from a 0.25-hectare parcel of vines, aged between eight and sixteen years. It is quite slow to start on the nose, but it is worth the wait, as it slowly unfolds to reveal notes of ripe orchard fruit drizzled with a honeyed sweetness. Don't let this rich description fool you though, there is no sugar lingering here, as this is clearly tense and drily defined, as we see on the mid-palate which shows incredible substance and structure, being both bold and broad, but also taut and energetic. This is all cushioned by a great pithy confidence, which lies comfortably intertwined with a citrus-acid freshness. An incredibly long, tense and direct wine. All in all, superb. I challenge any Savennières-deniers to taste this and not be completely enchanted.’ 97 points, Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com, February 2018.
'I have written before that Damien makes the best wines in Savennières, and this tasting did nothing to dissuade me of this opinion.' Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com, February 2018.
The Savennières appellation, including its ‘Grand Cru’ sub-appellations of Roche Aux Moines and Coulée de Serrant, is planted to just 156 hectares of vineyard (100% Chenin Blanc) and produces some of the most noble and age-worthy dry white wines of France. And today after just 20 years of winemaking and not having been born into or inheriting any vineyards, Damien Laureau is widely acclaimed as one of Savennières’ top producers.
Although he is often referred to as one of the appellation’s ‘new’ superstars, Damien now has nearly 20 vintages of experience behind him. Coming from a family farming background, he started out working with his uncle at a small vineyard in Anjou in the mid 1990s. By 1999 he had acquired his first vines in Savennières and in 2006 he abandoned the Anjou appellation to focus specifically on Savennières. Since then has gradually increased his vineyard sources through both acquisition and leasing, to the still very boutique total of 8.5 hectares.
Damien works organically in the vineyard and was certified organic in 2012. All harvesting is done by hand in successive tries throughout each vineyard to ensure the highest quality fruit, albeit at the expense of volume. The wines are vinified with natural yeasts and given extended lees contact without batonnage, to build texture but without excessive richness. The wines all go through malolactic conversion allowing a very low sulphur regime, whilst maintaining the freshness and minerality that Savennières is famous for. Maturation takes place in both tank and barrel depending on the wine, however new oak influence is not a part of the style.