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Nicolas Joly Le Vieux Clos 2009 750ml
In France, you’ll find this bottle called Le Clos Sacres, but regardless of what you call it, this ’09 Savennières Chardonnay is a thing of beauty. Juicy apples mingle with toasted nuts, quince marmalade, and autumnal earth in this aromatic, rich white. A jolt of minerality, a zip of acidity and the kind of mind-bending complexity that could only come from the hands of biodynamic guru Nicolas Joly complete the profile. Gorgeous and drinking to the end of the decade.
Region: Loire Valley
Sub Region: Anjou
In today’s word of wine the term “Biodynamic” is often misused or mislabeled as a selling tool. We are pleased to have the illustrious Nicolas Joly, a patriach to organic winemaking principles (and one of the finest producers of Chenin Blanc), to educate us on the topic of biodynamic wines and what that means to the vines and the consumer. This is truly a special occasion to learn about natural winemaking and taste the finest Savennieres produced.
“I don’t only want a good wine but also a true wine”
This motto of Nicolas Joly’s explains his entire philosophy for winemaking. He strives for his wines to be sincere representations of the subtleties of the land from which they come; the meaning of terroir. Nicolas Joly, an alumnus of Columbia University and former employee at JP Morgan, returned to his home in the Loire Valley to the fabled Coulée de Serrantin 1977. It lies in Savennieres, just north along the river and directly south of Angers. The celebrated vineyard, which is an appellation in itself and owned solely by Joly, was planted in 1130 by Cistercian monks. He began his career applying modern techniques in the vineyard and the winery. Within a couple of years, Joly noticed the negative effects on his land; the soil changed color, insects had vacated, and birds no longer lingered. By mere fate, Joly came accross a book on biodynamics. He soon became fascinated by the concept, and his experimental journey began with the reconversion of a small area of his vineyards. Results were proven nearly immediately in the form of flourishing land and life in the vineyard, and happy, healthy fruit. This reconfiguration began in 1980. By 1984 the vineyards of the entire domaine were being farmed boidynamically. Since 1984, no synthetic chemical products, insecticides, systemic products or nitrates have been used on the property. His prime emphasis is now focused on life forces in the vineyard, i.e. the different nutritional benefits offered by the manure of different animals, and natures seasonal rhythms and timing. In 2001, he founded “La Renaissance des Appellations/Return to Terroir,” an organization amongst winemakers heading up the cavalry set on devolvement toward the ancient methods of natural winemaking. It now boasts a collective of 140 producers from around world. Joly has authored two books on biodynamic viticulture. “Le Vin du Ciel à la Terre,” translated as “Wine From Sky To Earth” in the U.S., which is aimed at winegrowers, and “Le Vin, la Vigne et la Biodynamie,” or “Biodynamic Wine Demystified” was written with the
wine consumer in mind. Beyond Joly’s steadfast dedication to biodynamic viticulture, he practices
unusual winemaking methods. He believes in exposing the wine to oxygen periodically, racking it from barrel to barrel frequently. Biodynamic wines, he says, are not threatened by exposure to oxygen but strengthened by it. Joly also strongly suggests an unusual practice in reference to the drinking of his wines. He asserts that his wines improve for days after opening, and with his Clos de Coulée de Serrant, sometimes over a week. These practices, as well as the wines themselves have recieved much conflicting critique and controversy, some believing that the problem with Joly’s wines is oxidization. He insists that in these cases, there is confusion between oxidization and maturity. On the other side, many still consider the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant one of the greatest dry white wines in the world. From whichever side of the debate, there is no question that the wines of Nicolas Joly, now with the help of his daughter, Virginie, are absolutely one of a kind.
Variety/Blend: Chenin Blanc
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