For years we have imported the only remaining chestnut-aged Savennières. Chestnut is a neutral wood that totally respects the particular natural aromas and flavors of schist-grown Chenin Blanc in this part of the Loire Valley. It was the traditional aging vessel locally until oak came along, at which point history was roundly dismissed. KLWM, in partnership with Épiré’s owners, the Bizard family, decided to preserve this history. A few years ago we slowly began to replace the oldest barrels with acacia, the next-best thing, as all the local barrel-makers had disappeared and we found no other source—until just recently. Our first new chestnut barrel makes its debut this year.
Vintage 2016 was relatively late at Épiré (and cool), and the resulting wine is classic Savennières: pure, racy, and grainy, the impact of Épiré’s unique magmatic soil palpable.
The Cuvée Spéciale is what it usually is, their best parcel, old vines next to the Coulée de Serrant, fermented and raised in demi-muids, and bottled unfiltered. All for us! It is intense with a strong goût de terroir to go with the fruit. It is powerful, coiled like a spring, needs some time, and can age well into the next century.
Blend: Chenin Blanc
Producer: Château d’Épiré
Winemaker: Luc Bizard
Vineyard: Planted in 1989, 1.5 ha
Aging: Ages for about 6 months sur lie in very old chestnut demi-muids
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Production: 4000 cases