Chenin blanc is a varietal I love every time I taste, but which, for some reason, I haven’t made a regular part of my wine-buying and tasting. As I tasted Les Genêts 2004, a Savennières from Domaine Laureau, made by rising star Damien Laureau, I told myself that I really had to change that.
The wine shows terrific, intense aromas of acacia honey, almond and wool or lanolin (a typical aroma of chenin blanc, at least for me). You can taste loads of fruit(apple sauce, in particular), with honey and beeswax, and although the wine does show 14% alc./vol., it doesn’t fall over into heaviness, thanks to a decent level of acidity and mostly, the mineral structure typical of the Savennières appellation. It leaves a very fresh aftertaste as it lingers in the mouth for a long time.
You can easily see why this cuvée, made from young vines, seduced jurys and critics all over the place. It is charming and accessible, more easy-going than many other savennières. Great fun.
I just hope that it won’t lead savennières winemakers to go over the top and move towards fruitier styles and overly seductive wines. Laureau did some really lovely work, here, but I wouldn’t want to push it any further into the “modern” approach of exalting fruit over everything else. The minerality of the Loire white wines is what makes them great: overwhelming that character with fruit would throw them out of balance, it seems to me.
I’ll pour myself another glass of Les Genêts as I ponder all that…