2019 Pierre Menard Anjou Blanc - Le Clos des Mailles
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Pierre Ménard comes from a winegrowing family in Anjou, one of the great spots in the Middle Loire Valley for chenin blanc. He began bottling his own wines in 2013 and quickly became a star in the region. Farming is uncertified organic and biodynamic. This 100% chenin blanc is from the Clos des Mailles vineyard, on the highest point of the hillside and with phtanite (a rare blue quartz) and schist soils. Spontaneous fermentation happens in used barrels, followed by 10 months of aging on the fine lees. The wine is unfined and unfiltered.
Despite its three and a half years of age, there’s a tight-rope tension to the nose, a reductive, flinty youthfulness tempered by the depth of bottle age. That age is more evident in the mouth, which has a relaxed and textured elegance and savoriness. It’s completely dry, yet generous and full-flavored - which is one of the virtues of some chenin blanc. Drink it in a larger wine glass with pork, black cod, or polenta with chanterelle mushrooms. The wine is in a great place now, but you can easily lay it down for at least five years.