Château Yvonne - Saumur Blanc 2015
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When we visited Matthieu last year we could finally see the meticulous and perfectionist methods that he employs in both the vineyard and cellar. His whites are kept in a small cave behind his house, where the temperature is stable and remarkably cool, lending to longer fermentation times.
He owns 3 hectares of Chenin with vines up to 80-years in age; in the cellar he shows a masterful approach to old oak control, so his wines are voluptuous and structured but never overpowered.
Frankly his Saumur Blanc 2015 is incredible. It has a brilliant golden colour, and a gorgeous nose of golden apples, citrus fruits, and hints of ginseng. It's an opulent, nuanced bouquet with a strong vein of minerality and sunshine.
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: 2018-2030
92 Points Wine Spectator
"Lovely, with bright yellow apple, verbena, honeysuckle and salted butter flavors that meld nicely, taking on plump and racy aspects as they move through the lightly toasted finish."
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.