If you've ever had a wine from Chinon, in France's Loire Valley, it's likely that it was a red wine made predominantly from Cabernet Franc. White wines, which make up a miniscule 3% of the region's production, are often solely for local consumption and are rarely exported. Needless to say, when we were offered the opportunity to feature this rare, barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc from an acclaimed family-owned estate, we couldn't pass it up!
Brothers Bertrand and Vincent Marchesseau took over their family's winery in 2001, and with it, a small 5-hectare parcel in Chinon planted to the region's sole permitted white variety: Chenin Blanc. Lovers of this grape often praise its versatility, as it can make wines that range in style from sparkling, to dry still wines, to lusciously sweet examples. This bottling from Marchesseau is harvested by hand before being vinified and aged for 7 months in French oak barrels. It's dry, full-bodied and complex, and can be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years at about 12 C.
Complex and exotic on the nose, with aromas of grapefruit pith, tangerine, and peach, along with hints of fresh honeycomb, toasted almonds, and chai. This wine rewards patience, so allow it to warm up a bit in the glass to experience the nuance and complexity.
Medium-bodied on the palate, with beautiful texture, along with clean flavours of peach, nectarine, and lemon. Chenin Blanc's signature natural acidity provides the perfect counterpoint to the weight and complexity that comes from barrel fermentation. The finish is incredibly long and dry, with echoes of orchard fruit and citrus.
This style of Chenin Blanc has the weight and complexity for roast poultry, but will also pair with a simple frittata - an opportunity for the wine to be the star of the meal.