Michael Tulipan did a recent tour of the Loire, visiting a number of wineries that were all small, family-owned and practicing organics or biodynamics. Here’s the first is the series in the series.
You cannot taste wines with Jacky Blot until you know exactly where they came from. So you clamber into his vintage – what shall we call it? Jeep? Jitney? Let’s go with jalopy – the kind of vehicle low and heavy enough not to get caught in the vineyard muck, but where you feel every rut in the seat of your pants.
On a sunny day, after a period of ceaseless rain in Montlouis, he takes us for a loop around the most recent vineyard acquisition, Clos de Mosny, a prized plot surrounded by imposing stone walls. Jacky stops occasionally along the way at various plots, always pointing out nearby rows of vines that have been sprayed, where the soil looks hard and dead. His plots, by comparison, are bristling with life – the tell-tale grasses and vegetation of the organic way.
Some of these vineyards are up to 100 years old and still yield excellent grapes. Jacky is proud of all this, but we really must taste some wines. For starters, if you can find his sparkling Triple Zero – triple as no chaptalization, no sugar added, no dosage used in making it – it’s a must try. The 2011 is bone dry, a true palate memory eraser. With this, the marathon commences, starting with whites from Domaine De La Taille Aux Loups. The 2011 Remus proves very dry and full bodied while the 2011 Remus Plus takes that body and ups the dryness to desert bone dry. From the new vineyard, the 2011 Clos de Mosny (the first vintage and monopole) is already very good with a wonderful elegance. Alas, only 30 barrels of it exist.
Suddenly, we are in Vouvray and drinking a racy 2011 Clos de la Bretonniere from old vines. For fun, we compare a 2008 Remus with a 1996, which is termed ‘entry level.’ If this is entry level, everyone else doesn’t stand a chance. Seventeen years brings the nose of a demi-sec but with a dry finish. It’s a big, vibrant wine and proof well-made wine, no matter what the supposed quality level, can live on and on.
Then we move on to the reds from Blot’s other label, Domaine de Butte. Highlights are the* 2011 Mi Pente, a dense red with supple tannins, and the 2011 Perrieres, grown on clay, big and robust. We end with the sweet wines. The 2009 Moelleux* is fresh and well-balanced with 50 grams of residual sugar. The 2009 Cuvee Romulus floors us, a richly delicious wine, sweet, balanced and lush.
Visit the Jacky Blot website.
See more of Michael Tulipan’s writing at The Savvy Explorer.