The wine cellar at Baudry is an impressive sight; a 200-year-old cave carved into the side of the hill in Cravant-les-Côteaux, just west of Chinon. Hailing from a family of winemakers, Bernard Baudry studied in Beaune and worked as a wine consultant in Tours before launching his own winery in 1975. His son Matthieu joined him in 2000 and today they oversee 30 hectares, all farmed organically with no irrigation. When I ask Matthieu about being organic, he says simply that his father didn’t have the money to buy chemicals and so they never started.
Their grapes are hand-picked and aren’t pressed. Grapes are vinified separately, expressing the terroir of the plot they grow on. This being Chinon, reds dominate. Their Cabernet Franc on the gravel soil of the La Vienne River Valley becomes fruity and soft, but is richer with more tannins on the hillsides above the winery.
The wines run from light bodied, Les Granges, to full bodied ones like Les Clos Guillot. Le Domaine 2011 may not have been from great terroir, according to Matthieu, but it had a nice minerality and will benefit from aging a few years. Les Grezeaux 2011 comes from the best vineyard site, a mix of gravel and clay, with a resulting power that sets it up for cellaring. The 2010 Les Clos Guillot ratcheted up the intensity with an aromatic nose, high acidity and long finish, and already refined though just a few years old.
By turns, the 2011 La Croix Boissée revealed itself to be chalky from the limestone soil, acidic with a hint of salinity. Try this one in five years to fully appreciate it. Or just seek out a 2003 – surprisingly fresh for that infamously hot vintage.
Learn more about Domaine Bernard Baudry.