Vintages

2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1992
1990
1989
1986
1985
1984
1983
1981
1979
1975
1971
2007

A magnificent coppery gold colour despite its young age, sign of the overripeness of the vintage. Complex nose of white fruits, yellow flowers and acacia honey. The mouth is sweet, jammy and dominated by exotic fruits.

2006

Brilliant yellow colour with greenish gold shades. The complexity on the nose is dominated by dried fruits (apricots, peaches, but also prunes), acacia honey, topped with white flowers bringing a great freshness. The attack in the mouth is supple with a tense, almost mineral note. Beautiful balance; very fresh allowing many combinations with dishes.

2005

Very nice gold colour with bright and luminous reflections. Complex and refined nose, mainly of fresh and stewed exotic fruits (lychee mangoes, pineapple, Kumquats…). Rich and powerfull mouth.

2004

The Yellow colour has delicate gold-green reflections, a sign that the wine is still “young”. The sensations on the nose develop around candied citrus fruits dominated by orange marmalade or Kumquats, heady spices, lime blossom and verbena. The mouth is both fleshy and crispy.

2003

This year was a heatwave vintage – the hottest summer on record in Europe since at least 1540. Deep-ish colour. Notes of orange peel, mineral and a hint of barley sugar, with a sweet attack that carries through to a long finish. Rich orange marmalade flavour, with spices and herbs. Decent acidity for such a hot year. Jean-Marie Touchais apparently thinks this one has great potential. It certainly has the stuffing to reach a great old age!

2002

Described by Jean-Michel Touchais as a petit millesime, this is an attractive ‘old fashioned’ style Coteaux-du-Layon with very good balance which is clean, juicy and fresh. This appears drier due to the higher acidity. Whilst approachable now, it would benefit from further ageing. Despite the reputation, this is a good effort for the year and well-priced too. One for the cellar…

2001

Candied orange fruit/peel. Very perfumed and complex. Citrussy, floral and mineral at the same time, with hints of herbs and spice, and even a touch of leather. The palate is rich and hedonistic, with flavours of orange marmalade, ginger, clove and cinnamon, with brilliant structure and real mineral depth. Beautiful wine.

2000

A small release with just 8,000 bottles produced. More like the 2003, with more barley sugar, but also more expressive on the nose, with mineral, wet wool, lemon peel and lemon oil aromas. Slightly earthy, but attractively fragrant. Fresh root ginger and spice on the palate, with lingering marmalade, spice and mineral flavours.

1999

Lots to like here already. A honeycombe/cinder toffee nose with spicy, earthy cassia bark leads onto a palate with lovely concentration and mid-palate richness. A lingering finish is delicately nuanced with pineapple, star anise, orange peel and saffron. Lovely intensity and balance.

1998

Full of apple and quince flavours, with an almost savoury/meaty quality, with a not unattractive vegetal note. Amazing richness to the palate, with intense spice and marmalade flavours, toffee apple and fig. Very long.

1997

A lovely bright yellow colour, which suggests richness, as does the nose, with aromas of raisins, figs and lemon marmalade. Gently floral but not (yet) particularly mineral. Almost as rich and spicy as the 1998, but perhaps a touch more elegant and harmonious. Rich and deeply mineral, with a backbone of mouth-watering acidity, which carries all the way through to an almost endlss finish.

1996

Quite high-toned apple and lemon aromas, again with plenty of stoney minerality on the nose. This is (for me) where Chenin takes on an almost Riesling-like character, with some definite grapey, petrol/kerosene aromas. The palate shows power, concentration and complexity, with waves of dried fruit flavours, nervy acidity and immense length. A wine which manages to be both powerful and delicate at the same time.

1995

Slightly stinky and cheesy – in an attractive way – with nicely rotting peach and apple aromas. Actually, quite farmyardy! A bit of barley sugar and a hint of woodsmoke, with a faint whiff of fermented hops. The palate is hugely mineral and much fruitier than the nose would suggest. Even richer and sweeter than the 96 and 97, with more of a barley sugar quality, but with plenty of complex rotting fruit.

1994

Hints of woodsmoke, tree fruits, lemon and wet wool, but a touch muted. The palate, on the other hand, is very expressive, with a rich, ripe, almost dried fruit quality, wrapped around a core of steely/stoney minerality, with further notes of spiced marmalade, ginger and lemon peel. Finishes rich and gently bitter-sweet.

1992

Light gold, rather old style Chenin nose, surprisingly mouth filling for this high yielding vintage. The palate is sweet, but not so much fruity as medicinal, with cloves and balsam. Marmalade and other citric fruits with some length. Decidedly a pleasant surprise.

1990

Very deep colour, almost orange. Reeks of figs, marmalade, hops and Parmesan cheese(!) The palate is rich and sweet, with toffee apple, fig, fudge and orange peel flavours – like a fruit-laden butterscotch. Rich, but with decent acidity and moderate length.

1989

This one smells like Riesling! Grapey, herby, honeyed, with strong lemon and kerosene notes and bags of minerality. Very spicy and sweet – almost bitter-sweet. Rich and hedonistic, with some genuine botrytis, adding a honeyed, nutty quality. Very long. Not my absolute favourite style, but a very good wine.

1986

Surprisingly youthful, intense, focused and quite exotic with buttermint, lemon grass, papaya, sweet, creamy but zesty lemon (think lemon tart) too – toothsomely sweet and a little one note, but with good acidity to drive through the flavours.

1985

Smells almost fortified, like a white Maury or Banyuls. Apples, oranges, cloves and even a hint of salinity. Immensely rich and powerful (13.9% abv). Powerfully sweet, too, with flavours of toffee apple and lime oil. To be honest, the acidity is hidden beneath that enormously rich, sweet structure, but I think it will emerge in time. A massive wine, which I suspect needs another 20 to 30 years to really get into its stride.

1984

“A pretty dreadful vintage, but the resulting wine is a real surprise. Preserved by the high level of acidity, the nose is subdued and a bit rustic and old fashioned. Rich toffee aromas, with an almost chocolatey quality, with burnt apple, cloves and orange marmalade, though not really showing much in the way of minerality or high notes. The palate does though show some genuine wet wool character, along with spice and tangy lemon and lime. Long, too, and really very good. ”

1983

“Condemned by Joseph Touchais as not being up to standard, he told his son
to put them in the cellar and forget about them. Nearly 30 years later, some
15,000 bottles were ‘rediscovered’ in the cellar in January this year. Now fully mature, this is a ripe and rich wine. Unlikely to improve, but expected to rest of this plateau for many years to come.”

1981

Very slightly rancio in character – high-toned, honey, nuts, orange and lime – but still with a nice dollop of minerality. Again, we have notes of baked apple, fermented hops and toffee. Seems fully evolved and even slightly cheesy. Rich toffee, orange and spice flavours, but with plenty of balancing acidity.

1979

Deep orange-gold. A bit old fashioned and a little cheesy-savoury on the nose
and shows some heat. Broad and immediate on the entry, this is a wine built
more on power that elegance. A touch phenolic, the wine is just beginning to
dry out. Mature, baked apple flavours with notes of old Armagnac and toffee
apple on the finish.

1975

Polished, deep orange-gold. The nose remains a little restrained, with hints of smoke and toffee. The palate is altogether different. This wine (considered by some tasters as the best wine in the tasting) is distinguished by its fantastic acid balance which helps carry the wine through to a persistent finish. Almost lime-juice like juicy acidity. A great wine, that whilst drinking now will continue to hold for decades to come.

1971

Deep orange-gold. This has an attractive and complex baked apple nose with
hints of spice and caramel. The palate is complex, powerful and concentrated
and, like the 1975, is distinguished by the high level of acidity. Highly
textured, with a russet-apple and quince like presence, this is still positively
youthful. It has been preserved by the acidity and will continue to hold for
years to come. It deserves to be in the cellar of all true Chenin lovers.

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