Possibly one of the best Loire white wines by any definition, Savennières is also among the least well-known and perhaps the least popular.
Sacrifice a young Savennières before it is time, and - even more than with an immature, tannic red - you're almost certain to be disappointed. It's no surprise that a lot of wine lovers who've tried one or two young Savennières have simply given up on the type and moved on to more accessible options.
But get your hands on a mature one, and it's a revelation, as well as, often, a very good deal. Because of its quirky nature, young Savennières often go for very attractive prices in the $10 range. If you have the facilities, and the patience, you could do much worse than to load your cellar with a case or two of a current vintage for drinking around 2012.
Alternatively, at a somewhat higher price and marginally greater risk, do as I did: Keep an eye on your favorite wine shops in hope a dusty bottle will appear. I was delighted, if a bit wary, to find a bunch of 1997s from the respected producer Domaine de Baumard at a local shop recently for a little over $20. I checked the bottles suspiciously, but couldn't spot any sediment or cautionary darkening of color through the bottle, and the capsule turned freely, a small clue that no significant amount of seepage had worked its way out around the cork. I took the risk and was duly rewarded with a rich, complex Chenin Blanc that's still very much alive.
That's no surprise, really. Barring terrible treatment, Savennières may be the most ageworthy dry white. A good example from a fine vintage can last 20 or even 30 years in a temperature-controlled cellar.
Domaine des Baumard 1997 Savennières ($21.99)
This is a clear, straw-color wine with distinct glints of gold. Lovely aromas show still-vibrant white fruit with a dance of mature-white aromas that include almonds, butterscotch and banana oil. Full-bodied flavors are consistent with the nose, clean fruit and butterscotch shaped by lively acidity, with complex mineral flavors lurking just beneath the surface. Very fine wine, mature but by no means going around the bend. Ex Cellars Wine Agencies Inc., Solvang, Calif. (May 12, 2005)
FOOD MATCH: Complex enough for sipping thoughtfully as an after-dinner drink, but it went beautifully with a robust fish dinner, fresh cod baked on a bed of thin-sliced potatoes with plenty of garlic and olive oil.
VALUE: Not a budget wine, but it fully justifies this local sale price, and then some.
WHEN TO DRINK: With abundant fruit remaining, balanced structure and only subtle oxidative flavors, this one should still have years to go before it fades.
However, English speakers might enjoy reports on the property on two excellent British Websites, the Wine Doctor (Chris Kissack),
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
TALK ABOUT WINE ONLINE:
For more advanced wine-enthusiast discussions on this or any wine-related subject, you're welcome in our non-commercial WineLovers Discussion Group, where today's article is featured at this link:
To contact me by E-mail, write email@example.com. I'll respond personally to the extent that time and volume permit.
PRINT OUT TODAY'S ARTICLE
Winebuys.com: Irresistible Deals On Our Latest Arrivals
Your first order SHIPS FedEx for FREE!
Shop New Arrivals
Browse Wine Under $15
Shop All Wines
All wines always up to 50% off
To subscribe or unsubscribe from The 30 Second Wine Advisor, change your E-mail address, or for any other administrative matters, please use the individualized hotlink found at the end of your E-mail edition. If this is not practical, contact me by E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, including the exact E-mail address that you used when you subscribed, so I can find your record.
We do not use our E-mail list for any other purpose and will never give or sell your name or E-mail address to anyone. I welcome feedback, suggestions, and ideas for future columns. To contact me, please send E-mail to email@example.com
All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006