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Effraied to die

Nicolas “Domaine de Bellivière” 2006 Coteaux du Loir “L’Effraie” (Loire) – Drinks as if white flowers have been slammed, repeatedly, into a limestone wall. Soft and hard at the same time. I’m not sure what to think about its future development, but it’s a pretty intriguing drink now. (8/11)

And a slightly redder B

Nicolas “Domaine de Bellivière” 2007 Jasnières “Les Rosiers” (Loire) – Closing? Dying? Bad bottle? Whatever the issue, each bottle of this has been worse than the last. At this point, there’s little reason to drink any more…so I’m going to hold, going on the increasingly conventional wisdom that one can not open Loire chenin blanc from good sites too late, only too early. (7/11)

Don’t be l’Effraied of the dark

Nicolas “Domaine de Bellivière” 2006 Coteaux du Loir “l’Effraie” (Loire) – Semi-oxidized, and though chenin is a grape that can handle a certain amount of oxygen, this has gone too far in a stale, coppered nut direction. There’s still dust and softness, as there was in the wine’s youth, but both have been rendered clumsy by the oxidation. A shame. I have more, so I’m hoping cork variance is at least partially to blame. (5/11)

The patron saint of mediocre French wine chains

Nicolas “Domaine de Bellivière” 2006 Coteaux du Loir “L’Effraie” (Loire) – All the structural elements (a little fruit-sweetness, just enough acidity) are here, and it seems like the wine I know, but it resists attempts to draw anything else forth. Is this just closed, is it off, or is it already fading? The intention was to give it a day or so of aeration to see what might develop, but repetitive puzzled sampling killed that idea. Well, there’s more, so we’ll see what happens to the next one. (10/10)