Domaine des Baumard
Savennières Clos du Papillon 2018
Savennières is a tiny region located on the northern banks of the Loire River, just across from the town of Rochefort Sur Loire. The entire appellation consists of fewer than 360 acres of vines, all planted to Chenin Blanc. The South/Southeast facing vineyards are planted on unique soils composed of schistous volcanic debris mixed with sandstone and granite, imparting a strong, intensely original minerality to the Chenin Blanc grape. The average yields for the appellation are well below permitted levels, and actually the lowest of any dry french white wines; the resulting wines have stunning concentration and perfume. The combination of this concentration with the naturally high acidity of the Chenin Blanc grape results in wines capable of lasting and improving for decades.
Domaine des Baumard produces some of the finest examples of Savennières, including the single-vineyard “Clos du Papillon” from a site along the Loire noted for the presence of volcanic rock in its schist soils. The vineyard gets its name from its particular butterfly shape. Florent Baumard owns the eastern “wing” of this famous vineyard, and produces what must be one of the most under-appreciated great white wines in the world. The sheer intensity of the orchard fruit, floral, and earthy minerality notes emerging as the structure of the wine builds – nothing short of thrilling.
Baumard’s Clos du Papillon holdings total 10 acres of mostly schist soils, with sandstone and sane over rhyolinte. The vines average 35 years of age, and yields are a minuscule 30 hl/ha.
Grapes are harvested over successive passes so that bunches are at optimal maturity.
Baumard adheres to several core principles in managing their vineyard, including:
– alternating cover crop among rows
– trellising high to capture sunlight and ensure ripeness
– respecting natural balances and treatments
– controlled treatments
– waste management
The grapes are whole bunch pressed in a pneumatic press. Pressings are gentle and fractional, meaning that Florent Baumard collects the pressed juice at ascending intervals of pressure and ferments the lots separately. The wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures on their lees; no wood is used in the winemaking or aging process, which Florent believes allows him to achieve a purer expression of site. The wine then spends 9 months on the lees in tank before being bottled.
2018 was a nearly perfect vintage, avoiding the Spring frosts which plagued 2016 and 2017. Mild summer weather and a warm autumn produced perfectly ripe fruit with moderate alcohol, juicy acidity and dense concentration. The young wines will need time to open up in bottle – or a quick decant. Baumard’s 2018 Papillon is a rich wine, immediately impressive, but likely to be extremely long-lived, capable of improving for 15-20 years.
Sustainable. Refrains from using herbicides. Grasses over alternate vineyard rows.
Suggested Retail Price
Other Wines by this Producer
Domaine des Baumard produces some of the finest examples of Savennières, and Jean Baumard and now his son, Florent, are universally regarded as the finest winemakers in the appellation. Their wines are among the most unique and rewarding in the world: dry whites of intense concentration, perfume, and longevity.
Quarts de Chaume
The dramatically beautiful Quarts de Chaume appellation produces some of the great sweet wines of the world, Baumard's chiefly among them. Truly the "Grand Cru" site of the Loire Valley.
Baumard’s Savennières Trie Spéciale bottling is in many ways the apotheosis of the appellation, and is produced only in great years (’89, ’90, ’95, ’97, ’00, ’10, ’14 to date). Exceptionally ripe bunches are hand-harvested in successive passes (‘tries’) through the estate vineyard, resulting in a concentrated wine of enormous structure and intensity, requiring many years to unwind into a lanolin-textured wine with flavors of stone fruits, spices, and minerals, and great length. One of France’s greatest white wines.
Crémant de Loire
First produced in 1957, Baumard’s Crémant Carte Turquoise is a beautiful, hand-crafted example of this appellation, which now covers both the Anjou and Touraine AOCs.
Baumard’s Anjou Rouge Le Logis (named after the family home – Logis de la Giraudière) is a wine of immediate pleasure. Produced predominantly from Cabernet Franc, the wine exhibits that grape’s quintessential aromas of blackberries and graphite, with supple flavors of savory herbs and brambleberries.