And the winner is...
2008 Savennières, Château de Chamboureau, Domaine FL
This brilliantly precise Savennières shows the heights that Chenin Blanc can attain and illustrates that it is often the more difficult, cooler vintages like 2008 that produce the finest dry white Loires. 2008 was a cool summer with little sun. The sun came out in September and October but the temperatures remained cool – rarely above the low 20s˚C. The grapes ripened slowly with a significantly longer hang-time than normal. The result – very pure flavours, minerality and a wonderful backbone of acidity.
Domaine FL is the creation of Philippe Fournier, a telecommunications tycoon in Angers. FL combines the Domaine Jo Pithon in the Layon and the vineyards of C˙hâteau de Chamboureau in Epiré (Savennières).
A long established domaine in Savennières likely to have been producing wine for some 400 years, it is at the western end of the village of Epiré. The vines are planted on schist. In 1949 the property was bought by the Soulez family. The vineyards were sold by Pierre Soulez in 2006 to Fournier. The following year the Bordeaux consultant, Stéphane Derenoncourt, was hired to advise here and for Domaine Jo Pithon. This led to the acrimonious departure of Pithon. Fournier then combined the two estates under the Domaine FL umbrella in 2008. A new winery is now under construction at Rochefort.
Hugues Daubercies, Pierre Soulez’s nephew is the winemaker. The grapes are picked by hand with three sweeps through the vines selecting the fruit at just the maturity needed. Native yeasts and fermentation and aging in barriques for 12 months.
The 2008 is remarkable value: retailing at just 15.60€ a bottle on the FL site (www.domainefl.com). It has the potential to last for 20-30 years.
Written by Jim Budd