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One Brilliant Bottle

organic/biodynamic/natural wines in Vinland

Domaine Patrick Baudouin Effusion 2007

France (Loire)

chenin blanc

www.patrick-baudouin-layon.com

It was May when the wine left the caviste in the Loire town of Cholet. A rural roadside of France, abloom with poppies, seemed a natural stopping-off point on the way back to our vacation home.

Domaine Patrick Baudouin Effusion 2007

I had a lot of chenin blanc from different producers while in the Loire. This one is notedly different. Milder acidity to begin, a warmer, softer taste, with a frontal creaminess preceding the acidity on the finish. But before that – a fine, honeyed nose, with aromas of ripe apricot compote. And before that still – eye-catching, light-catching yellow gold. A very pleasurable wine.  $

I purchased the bottle in an exceptional wine shop in Cholet — Les Compagnons Cavistes, on the recommendation of the young man working there, and what Jacqueline Friedrich said in “The Wines of France”, my travelling wine book of choice when I venture to France. I did not go wrong.

I was attracted by the words — “impassioned and idealistic” — Friedrich used to describe the winemaker, PATRICK BAUDOUIN. Arriving in the Côteaux du Layon region of Loire in 1990, having left Paris and the life of a bookseller, Baudouin took over a few hectares passed down the line from his great-grandparents, vineyard owners since the 1920s.

Today the domaine has grown to ten hectares, still modest in size. Seven hectares Baudouin has devoted to chenin blanc, and from them come three dry whites and an impressive selection of sweet wines.

Baudouin would attribute much of the increase in quality of his wines to his movement toward organic production. His domaine was certified in 2001. Hand in hand with that is his refusal to chaptalize (add sugar), and the reduced use of sulphur. Of particular concern is the ripeness of the fruit at harvest. Pickers pass through the vineyards for up to six different ‘tries’. Slow pressing follows, then fermentation using only indigenous yeasts, which is allowed to progress in its own good time and come to a natural end. The wine sees up to a year and a half more in barrels before bottling. Baudouin is very much a ‘natural’ winemaker, with the patience to wait until the wines feel ready for the market.

I am very enthused by Effusion (in name and attributes an unrestrained expression of terroir). As much merit as there is in the life of a bookseller, this is one case where a change of career path is proving entirely commendable. His vines tell great stories.

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