Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Mosse and a Baudry from 2009

The basic take I've heard regarding the Loire vintage of 2009 is that the vintage is quite full and ripe, with favorable warmth for the reds, perhaps over-warmth for the whites, and a fine September (and mostly fine October) for healthy grapes of all colors. But this is a generalization, and each wine will speak in its own voice, some to an extent that overturns expectations.

Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Granges 2009
I adore Baudry's wines and I was expecting full young fruit, easy drinking, and expressive typicité in equal measure, with a low 12.5% alcohol promising a snappy attack. In practice, this has all the classic, lovely aromas I love about Chinon, but although the wine is nicely proportioned, with the acidity and fruit and minerality seemingly in their right places, the palate is strangely muted; it just doesn't have the spark, the informal elegance, or the mid-palate depth that I associate with Les Granges at this age. I drank this over three days' time in the hopes it would blossom, but it never unfurled (and actually it just turned slightly medicinal by the third night). Curious. John Gilman reported a favorable experience; might this be undergoing a particularly sullen adolescence?

Mosse Anjou Blanc 2009
I'm really honing in on the structure and acidity of the 2009 Loire whites I try (and by "whites" I really mean Muscadet and chenin from its many appellations). I'm asking myself if they have the bones and the guts for aging, or if even hints of softness that apparently mark some wines obscure terroir and suggest a short life.

Agnès and Réné Mosse's basic Anjou Blanc suffers not the least from softness. Rather, I was overjoyed (as in, you would have told me to settle down) to find a marvelous and highly expressive wine with considerable focus and complexity. There's some passionfruit on the nose that's allied to cantaloupe and ginger aromas, but any tropical fruit characteristics are solely aromatic. It's the snappy, medium-bodied palate that really makes me happy; there's a spicy singularity here that obviates the need to list the many descriptors I could use, particularly as it's so complete and quite long. That the vines for this cuvée were planted within the last ten years make the complexity and singularity that much more impressive. The mere 7 grams of RS are not enough to render this a sec tendre; it tastes completely dry, and the alliance of austerity and voluptuousness that is a hallmark of top-notch Anjou sec is in full force here. People, can you feel the love? I sure can.