Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups' stellar 2015s

Domaine de la Taille Aux Loups' stellar 2015s
2018 marks the 30th anniversary of the inception of Jacky Blot’s Domaine de la Taille aux Loups. In the intervening years, Jacky has almost single handedly raised the profile of Montlouis, so much so that it now stands shoulder to shoulder with Vouvray, found just a stone’s throw away on the other side of the Loire. Today, Jacky is joined by his son Jean-Philippe, and the Domaine has never looked stronger. The heart of the Domaine is undoubtedly in Montlouis but Jacky also has 5 hectares of exceptional vineyards in Vouvray. For bureaucratic reasons, owing to the fact that all of the wines are vinified and aged (in wonderfully cool rock hewn cellars) in Montlouis , the Vouvray’s are no longer allowed to bear the appellation name. The resulting ‘Vin de France’ must surely be the country’s finest wines to carry that designation…

The Blot’s are tireless in their pursuit of perfection and the focus here is on exceptionally brilliant dry wines and some very interesting fizz (‘I’ve never had a disappointing bottle of [Triple Zero]’ says Jancis Robinson). The sole variety is Chenin Blanc. Yields are kept low and a plethora of very old vines grown on a complex array of soils provide basis for a series of geologically and site specific crus. Production is ‘Bourgignon’ in outlook, though Jacky avoids all malolactic fermentation to retain Chenin’s beautifully clean lines, and provide the backbone for immense feats of ageing. All wines are fermented and then raised in oak, just 20% of which is new, in cool cellars with no racking or battonage. The resulting jewels often sport an attractive, lightly smoky reduction in youth, alongside exceptionally pure fruit and intensely complex mineral profiles.

2015 was a warm sunny vintage that has produced some exceptional Chenins up and down the Loire. Jacky’s wines are no exception. But they weren’t without hard work. A warm wind at harvest time exacerbated the sunny vintage conditions, adding a concentrating effect to already ripe grapes. A team of 30 pickers soon became 120 as the team rushed to harvest beautiful golden berries. The resulting wines all naturally weighed in between 12.5 and 13% abv, with exceptional flavour development and wonderfully ripe acidities. Longevity is not in question but neither is their ability to charm now, judging by the reception they received at our portfolio tasting last week. For those looking for serious whites with which to broaden their horizons beyond Burgundy, the Taille aux Loups range is well worth exploring.