Château Yvonne - Saumur Blanc 2014
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Vigneron Mathieu Vallée took over Château Yvonne in 2007 and ever since this hallowed estate in the Loire has reached even greater heights. With his arrival he brought new ideas and a windy freshness to the wines that has reinvigorated the estate.
This is his flagship white, 100% Chenin Blanc from the sacred terroir of Saumur. As with most Chenin, the keywords here are texture—this is almost chewy in its viscosity and depth—and aroma. The aromas are mineral and almost tropical, with taut touches of pear and quince that open up to show much more honey and pineapple.
The hand-harvested fruit here is farmed biodynamically and certified organic from 3 hectares of vines that are up to 80 years in age. It's fermented with wild yeasts and unfined and unfiltered as always. Like the best examples of Chenin, it can age for decades, although it's excellent now after 30 minutes of air.
Annual Production: N/A
Blend: 100% Chenin Blanc
Terroir: Clay/limestone soils over tuffeau stone
Winemaking: 30% aged in 225L old oak barrels for 12 months, 3 months in tank before bottling,
Certification: Certified organic (Ecocert 1997)
Drinking Window: 2016-2030
Château Yvonne is an ancient estate that dates to the 16th century, and winemaking is part of its tradition since 1813, when a local winemaker moved in. But it wasn't until almost 200 years later in 1997 that Yvonne and Jean-François Lamunière decided to recreate the abandoned vineyard with the help of Françoise Foucault, of Clos Rougeard.
In 2007, Matthieu Vallée purchased the estate but kept the name of the winery out of respect to the incredible work done by the Lamunières. This is now one of best producers in Saumur alongside Clos Rougeard and Guiberteau, with 8 hectares of Cabernet Franc and 3 hectares of Chenin Blanc and 8 hectares of Cabernet Franc. Everything has been farmed organically (Ecocert certified) since 1997 and biodynamically since 2012.
Vallée uses native yeast fermentation only, and has no additions other than minimal SO2, slow malolactic fermentation, and minimal racking. All his wines are unfined and unfiltered, and are ambitious, long-living examples of the best of Saumur.