Chris got his hands on some early 90s Coulee de Serrant, and we were all happy to come together for the “vineyard of exception”. Arguably the best expression of Chenin Blanc, Coulee de Serrant is a monopole (vineyard with a single owner) biodynamically farmed by Nicholas Joly. Just over 14 acres, the vineyard boasts vines with more than 80 years of age. Steep slopes, thin schist soil, grapes harvested by horse and by hand – all the makings of a special place in the Loire Valley (and beyond).
For our evening of Chenins, we ended up with 6 wines. We saved the Joly for flight 2.
Wine 1 in flight 1 garnered these descriptions: baked caramel, toffee, crab apple, stony, smoky, higher-than-expected acidity, touch of matchstick on palate, spicy a la horseradish and white pepper.
Wine 2 from flight 1: funky peaches, wet wool, dried apricots, toasted marshmallow, textbook lanolin texture.
Wine 3 from flight 1: clean mushrooms, lemon head candies, just picked apples, floral, beeswax, pineapple, smoky, cotton candy, bright and lively with a long finish.
Time for round 2. Chris had decanted the 91 and the 93 Coulee 24 hours in advance of our tasting. I brought the current release, the ’07, and it was decanted for just a few hours prior to round 2. I announced it during the tasting, and no one seemed impressed, but for the record, I guessed the vintages correctly during round 2.
A shot of the labels:
By this time we were getting hungry.
Chris adapted course 2 to the wines as well.
Plating the main course:
Two of our guests had to leave before the main course was served.
As I was finishing up this post, an email came through from Chris, with the subject “coulee redux”:
So I just got home from work. Exactly one week has passed since I decanted the 91 and 93. I squirreled a small amount from the tasting, for purely scientific purposes mind you, and have just tasted through the lot of them. All three are dead as a doornail. Without exception all three wines showed best at 24 to 48 hour. The evolution went from closed up upon opening to the shapeshifting chameleon that we all met at the tasting. Then on to a vegetal phase and finally to very a rich ripe golden fruit phase. Sorry for any bullshitty language. Interesting, they are still not quite oxidized. And for the ringer, I can’t resist, the cuvee d`avant is still showing fantastically and with that I am going to go attend to the last of it.