Our May wine club took a closer look at Domaine des Baumard. The Domaine des Baumard is based in the small town of Rochefort sur Loire, in the Anjou region of the Loire Valley. Whilst the estate has been in the family since the early 17th century it was the arrival of Jean Baumard in 1955 that saw its emergence as one of the Loire Valley’s key producers. You can browse our range of Baumard wines here.
Jean, retired professor of Viticulture and Oenology at the Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture et de Viticulture d’Angers, brought a dynamic and scientific mind to a region that had muddled along without ever thrusting itself to the fore. His work not only helped raise the profile of Savennières but also brought worldwide attention to the remarkable sweet wines of Quarts de Chaume. Jean began to take a back seat in 1987 as Florent, Jean’s son, returned to the estate, freshly qualified from his studies in Burgundy, keen to take things even further. Florent’s ability has been to add flair to Jean’s precision and under his guidance the estate has become a beacon of quality as well as a defender of a certain style; a more reductive, less flashy form of winemaking where the wines tend to show themselves only after a few years in bottle but that then have the potential to age for many, many years further.
The domaine today stands at 40 hectares in size and most of the production is from the Chenin Blanc grape, from which sparkling, dry and sweet wines are all produced. The uneven ripening of the Chenin Blanc grape in the region enables Florent to harvest at different times thus producing different styles. This means of course that all harvesting is done by hand and often several pickings will need to be done in the same parcel.
The Savennières vineyards are situated on the right bank of the Loire on schist soils whilst the sweet wines come from the left bank between the Loire and the Layon. The dry whites of Savennières are all fermented in tank and a pragmatic approach is adopted regarding malolactic fermentation depending on the vintage. These wines number amongst France’s very finest dry whites with hugely complex palates of flavour, ranging from pear and almond to fennel, asparagus and mushroom. The mouthfeel, depending on the year, makes you think either of a German Riesling or a Côte de Beaune Chardonnay but throughout is a core of minerality that surely throws into question those that believe minerality doesn’t exist.
The sweet whites are quite simply glorious and prove themselves even more so with age. When compared with older, more celebrated sweet wines after 15-20 years, their pedigree shines through. They remain vibrant and fresh with notes of honey, citrus fruit and brioche, long after their more esteemed colleagues have faded into wines of heavy raisiny, caramel characteristics. Much of these fresh, precise qualities come from the work in the vineyards and the cellar but a hugely contributing factor must be the non-use of oak barrels, something for which Florent should be roundly celebrated.
Top Loire Estate Switches Entirely to Screwcap – from The Wine Spectator,
Our May 2017 Wine Club event was centred around the wines of Florent Baumard, Domaine des Baumard, in the Loire Valley.
The wines of Domaine des Baumard were the focus of our May 2017 Wine Club Tasting. Presented by Simon Tyrrell, we tasted our way through Clos de St Yves, Clos du Papillon, Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaumes, sipping older, no longer available vintages as well as those currently on the shelves. To keep updated of future tasting events be sure to sign up to our newsletter.