2017 Francois Chidaine 'Clos du Breuil' Montlouis, Loire Valley, France (750 ml)

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Francois Chidaine produces several different lovely cuvées of Chenin Blanc from mainly Montlouis and one from Vouvray but we tend to appreciate this ‘Clos du Breuil’ the most for it is one of the driest and typically delivers the best balance of fruit to acidity yet with ample weight and body. It showcases François’ brilliance as a winemaker, and as a farmer, and is always one of the purest expressions of Chenin Blanc in Montlouis. The Clos du Breuil site is a single vineyard situated at one of the highest points of the appellation and is planted in mostly Silex (flint) soils with a thin layer of clay over limestone bedrock. This 2017 vintage absolutely delivers with a deep golden color and classic honeyed aromas on the nose. The medium to full bodied palate has a lush and rounded texture that expands with succulent flavors of slightly bruised pear, under ripe pineapple, a little Meyer lemon and more honey which also flows onto the delightfully silky finish. This is a complex and beautifully toned wine that will only get better with time. François Chidaine is responsible for elevating the status of Montlouis as an appellation on the level of Vouvray and for being among the first grower producers to embrace biodynamic farming in the Loire Valley. After graduating from viticulture school in the mid-1980's, he followed in his father, Yves' footsteps, by taking over the four hectares of vines Yves had rented for years in Montlouis. François knew he wanted to work with more fruit so he developed rental contracts with other vineyard owners, allowing him the option to buy if the land ever came up for sale. In the early 2000s he started experimenting with organic and biodynamic farming and by 2003 he was certified in both. By 2006, he was able to purchase several of the parcels he had been renting and had established himself as a serious player in the region.

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