2017 Charles Joguet “Chinon Clos du Chêne Vert” Chinon, Loire Valley, France

2017 Charles Joguet “Chinon Clos du Chêne Vert” Chinon, Loire Valley, France

$64.95

Description

“The wines of Chinon have long been celebrated. French humanist and native son, François Rabelais, sang their praises as far back as the sixteenth century. However, the distinction with which the appellation is regarded today is due in part to the legacy left by a more contemporary icon: Charles Joguet. This young painter and sculptor abandoned a budding art career to assume direction of the family domaine in 1957. He soon began to question the common practice of selling grapes to negociants, as his own family had done for years.

The Joguets owned prime vineyard land in between the Loire and Vienne Rivers, with some of their finest found on the left bank of the Vienne, just outside Chinon, in Sazilly. These very lieux-dits had been recognized for their character and defined before the Renaissance—some even date back to the Middle Ages. Variations in the soils of these alluvial plains were substantial enough to realize that he was sitting on what would be considered in other regions as premier cru and grand cru vineyards. To sell the grapes off or to vinify these individualized plots together would have been madness. Separate terroirs, he believed, necessitate separate vinifications. Over the course of his tenure, Charles took the risks necessary to master the single-vineyard bottling with an artistry that A.O.C. Chinon had never before seen. In so doing, he realized the true potential of the land.

The Joguets owned prime vineyard land in between the Loire and Vienne Rivers, with some of their finest found on the left bank of the Vienne, just outside Chinon, in Sazilly. These very lieux-dits had been recognized for their character and defined before the Renaissance—some even date back to the Middle Ages. Variations in the soils of these alluvial plains were substantial enough to realize that he was sitting on what would be considered in other regions as premier cru and grand cru vineyards. To sell the grapes off or to vinify these individualized plots together would have been madness. Separate terroirs, he believed, necessitate separate vinifications. Over the course of his tenure, Charles took the risks necessary to master the single-vineyard bottling with an artistry that A.O.C. Chinon had never before seen. In so doing, he realized the true potential of the land.  If premier crus were permitted in Chinon, Les Varennes du Grand Clos would certainly be considered one of them.” – Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.

Charles Joguet is now retired in his 90s, and the reins have been handed over to Kevin Fontaine.  “The domaine has kept the legendary name and is still producing excellent wines. The organically certified 36 hectares of vineyards—predominantly old Cabernet Franc between the Loire and Vienne Rivers, with the oldest vines planted in 1930 and 1940—are widely spread and on many different soil types (gravelly, siliceous alluvial sands and limestone). Many plots are planted in late-ripening, north-facing sites to maintain the Loire-typical freshness and structure of Cabernet Franc.  All parcels are harvested and vinified separately, and the red grapes (there is a bit of Chenin Blanc too) are all destemmed and cold-macerated in either stainless steel cuvées or oak vats and fermented for up to four weeks. The aging takes place in either stainless steel tanks or used barrels for up to 18 months.”

Wine Advocate, 94 points – “From one of the oldest crus of the whole appellation, the 2017 Chinon Clos du Chêne Vert comes from a vineyard located in the city itself, so on the right bank of the Vienne River. The very steep two-hectare slope is southwest-facing and on clay and siliceous-calcareous soils and yielded 30 hectoliters per hectare in 2017. Fermented in wooden vats and aged in one- to three-year-old barrels, this Cabernet Franc opens with a remarkably deep and fine yet intense, elegant and seamless bouquet of dark berries, raw meat, blood and crushed stones, yet all of this is not in an animal way but noble and inviting. The wine is pure and fresh, with a nervy-mineral drive under the silky-refined and elegant texture, and it reveals an intense, licoricey, well-balanced and even charming, long, vital and iodine-laced finish with intense ripe fruits and silky tannins. This is an impressive wine. Although the 2017 already tastes terrific, it can be cellared for 20 or more years. This is an icon wine of the appellation, and if there hadn’t been a pandemic, I would immediately have asked for a vertical. Tasted in June 2021. Drink date: 2025 – 2045” – 94 points, Wine Advocate (SR) – August 5th, 2021

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