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Closel Clos

Domaine du Closel 1998 Savennières Clos du Papillon (Loire) – Looks tired and oxidized. Isn’t. But it’s not without oxidation as a complexing agent, and that will throw some. Nothing here is atypical for the grape, appellation, or producer, but knuckle-draggers who insist that “wine should taste like fruit because it’s made from fruit” should buy something else. All those caveats aside, it’s not the freshest wine in history (though I’m given to understand that day two brings a lot more energy and life), with sodden metal squeezings and wet chalk predominating. It’s a dark, broody, aging hipster sort of wine, and the right food – which I do not have during my encounter – would not be amiss. Still, given my horrendous experiences with my own bottles of Closel and other Savennières from this era, I have to welcome one that has actually performed up to expectations. (10/11)

How Bizard

Bizard-Litzow “Château d’Epiré” 2007 Savennières “Cuvée Spéciale” (Loire) – I have given up aging Savennières, and though I’m happy to drink someone else’s, the relentless early descent into oxidation and/or silage across producers and vintages has defied all reasonable explanation (aside from the scourge of the still-unsolved premature oxidation that affects wines here and there, which would explain one issue, but not the other) and completely soured me on the effort. Which is a real shame, because I’ve had beautifully aged versions from these same producers in the past, and because I don’t exactly adore young Savennières either. Here, for example, is ceramic leaf and candle smoke, a desiccation that supersedes whatever actual residual sugar (if any) might remain, and a long but ultimately pointless blank slate of a finish. There’s texture to spare, though it’s planar, and that’s what would normally give me confidence that at some point in the future there would be a blossoming. But whether due to forces external or internal – that is, the taster in question – I’m not willing to hold these any longer, just to see how many years before their drink-by date they fail in a blaze of misery. (9/11)

Moines way or another

Laroche “Domaine aux Moines” 2001 Savennières-Roche aux Moines (Loire) – Layers of oxidation. Fulsome with a barky, drying palate. Snow globe-like with its swirling tartrates (and my pour is far from the bottom of the bottle). Copper-jacketed and starting to preserve itself in amber. I spend a good twenty minutes trying to decide if I like this, and never quite come to a conclusion. (11/10)

Joly good

Joly 1989 Savennières Clos de la Coulée de Serrant (Loire) – Chalk, dry honey, complex minerality, and a long, very dry finish. Good acidity. A very good wine not all the way to maturity, but getting there. (9/08)

Robert Clary

[domaine]Jessey “Domaine du Closel” 1997 Savennières Le Clos Lavau (Loire) – At first opening, the increasingly familiar stewed garbage and cabbage aromas dominate. As time goes on, these drift away, though only to an extent; even a day later, they still linger in the background. What emerges, later, is a sweat-stained minerality, like armpits in a mine, sludging its way through a wine with the texture of a dry mead. There’s some salt, too. It most definitely improves with air, and a day later it’s much more identifiably Savennières. That said, after much exploration, and not meaning this as a recommendation for anyone else, I don’t think I’m going to age Closel anymore. It just doesn’t turn into anything I like. (4/09)

Jessey’s girl

Jessey “Domaine du Closel” 1997 Savennières Moelleux “Cuvée Isa” (Loire) – Quite literally smells like garbage. The palate is chalky and rough, with a mineralistic aspect, and while the wine comes off as dry there’s a thickness that can only come from the sugar. However, the wine is so utterly aromatically repellent that only the nasally-challenged could even contemplate actually putting it in their mouth. (6/08)

Chenin blanc, sittin’ in a trie…

[vineyard]Baumard 1997 Savennières “Trie Spéciale” (Loire) – Feels sugary, tastes like just-sprouted asparagus. It’s a weird combination, and there’s probably a reason you’ve never seen asparagus candy on the market. Maybe in Japan, I dunno. They’ll try anything. (2/08)

Closel the Vaults

Jessey “Domaine du Closel-Château des Vaults” 2004 Savennières “La Jalousie” (Loire) – Generous, chalky, and surprisingly fruit-forward for a chenin (though “fruit” here is very loosely-defined; this would be some sort of exotic melon after a chalkboard accident), with a pleasant approachability but the structure for short-term development. I wouldn’t push it too long, though it’s important to note that I’m not a fan of oxidized Savennières; those who like that expression should hold it with impunity. (5/08)

Moine all Moines

[label]Laroche “Domaine aux Moines” 1991 Savennières-Roche aux Moines (Loire) – For the first fifteen minutes or so, there’s the usual Loire chenin consternation over potential corkiness…and anyway, the wine’s not showing much (aside from a papery albino-hood) during that time. With sufficient air – and some warming – more classic quinine and aspirin aromas emerge, though the texture particulates into something slightly sandpapery. Wax develops, then retreats, and the finish demonstrates a steady expansion from the first to the last glass. Highly unappealing, but I don’t necessarily mean that in a bad way; this is a wine that requires you to come to it, rather than vice-versa. (8/07)

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