Chenin Blanc Masterclass

Grand Cru Chenin Blancs from the master Nicolas Joly and Loic Mahe

We are very excited to have Charles Simpson (pictured below) from Virtuous Vines with us presenting a not to miss masterclass of Grand Cru Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.


Nicolas Joly
The Joly family makes 3 wines, all dry whites made exclusively from the Chenin Blanc variety.
First, there is Les Vieux Clos in AOC Savennières, a beautiful assortment of old walled vineyards on the top of the slope. The schist here is topped with roughly one metre of clay soil. The wines are packed with ripe fruit flavours of melon and orchard fruit, and the finish is classic Savennières – powerful and long. Next, Le Clos de la Bergerie in AOC Savennières “La Roche aux Moines”, a single vineyard mid slope, where there is about half as much soil on top of the schist. These wines tend to get riper, and can often finish with a touch of residual fruit sweetness. They are the most forthright of the wines. But none equals the flourish, Le Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, which holds its own Appellation. The most powerful, long, intense of them all. In youth, it smells of fresh rain on stones, with hints of melon, stone fruit and pear skin. With age, it becomes a tea chest of bergamot, dried fruits, honey and dried flowers. The wines need a long spell in the decanter, a day is best if you can wait, and enjoy the wine over the course of a full week if you can resist !
Le Clos de la Coulée de Serrant was first planted by Cistercian Monks in the year 1130. It is a 7 ha walled vineyard on a very steep schist slope above the Loire River near Angers. There is virtually no topsoil, the vines cling to the crumbly schist rocks. It is one of just 3 French Appellations to be a Monopole, that is, a single vineyard that has its own appellation and is owned by one estate.
Loic Mahe


In 2000, Loïc Mahé decided to make wine, and being a fan of Chenin Blanc, went straight for the top. He managed to buy a plot in what is perhaps the most highly prised Chenin Blanc appellation in the world, Savennières… only problem was, there were no vines in the ground! So he planted. Now reaching maturity, these are his treasures. He has also purchased different old vineyards around Savennières, including the perfectly situated Chateau la Franchaie, where he now vinifies all his wines.
Everything is about life and vines here. The domaine has been managed Biodynamically since the start, and winemaking is very instinctive, with the only additions being minimal doses of SO2. Loïc makes Chenin Blanc of remarkable power, richness and flavor. There is a lot of complexity in the glass, firmly in the golden honey style Chenin, but not missing that great and refreshing Biodynamic acidity to keep you sipping.

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