Soulez “Château de la Genaiserie” 1996 Coteaux du Layon Saint-Aubin La Roche “Sélection de Grains Nobles” (Loire) – 500 ml. I remember the fuss about wines of this nature back in the time it was released, with people taking sides on the question of whether or not a wine with ludicrous levels of residual sugar could actually be called a wine anymore. I never really saw the point of the argument, myself; I mean, if it’s made from grapes and there has been any yeast conversion of sugar to alcohol at all, how is it not wine? As with so many such debates, the issue is really just a bunch of pundits trying to externalize their personal preferences into independent existence. Which is, of course, utter nonsense. If you don’t like sweetness of this magnitude, just say so and move on.
And yes, this is powerfully, painfully, almost unimaginably sweet. Even after fifteen years, it’s primary, syrupy (though there’s perceivable acidity), and has fuck-all to say about chenin blanc or Coteaux du Layon other than that the appellation is entirely capable of producing wines like this. That said, isn’t that by itself a statement about the terroir and cépage? After all, I don’t think you can do this with cabernet franc up-river in Chinon. Do I like it? Well, it’s impressive. It’s sort of an absurdly-endowed porn star (either gender) sort of impressiveness, though. I have no idea how much age would be required to make it develop, but I suspect the cork will have failed long before that point has been reached. So really, there’s no particular reason not to drink it, but no particular reason to hurry towards it with a corkscrew either. It is, I suspect, a near-eternal monument to excess. (10/11)