Langlois-Chateau - Saumur Vieilles Vignes, Chenin Blanc 2005
The Saumur Blanc Vieilles Vignes, from a particular gnarly old vineyard is an extraordinary wine and the definition of Chenin Blanc.
Honeyed and floral with powerful fruit, well-judged oak and a herby hazelnut hint.
The Saumur Blanc Vieilles Vignes has a wonderful ability to accompany diverse fish dishes, especially white fish in cream sauces and where subsidiary flavours such as dill or almond become part of the dish. It would be equally at home accompanying one of northern France's soft ripe cheeses and will also pair well with oysters, scallops and other seafood.
The Vieilles Vignes cuvee is produced from two low yielding 1 hectare plots of Chenin Blanc, both well in excess of 35 years old.
The soil is the characteristic Saumur mixture of sand and limestone, with a high calcium content vital for the preservation of the acidity in the fruit and therefore allowing for a longer ripening period which concentrates and enhances the flavours.
The Langlois-Chateau Chenin vineyards are around St Florent. The grapes are hand harvested with several 'tries' - or passes through the vineyards - to ensure all fruit is of optimum ripeness. The fruit is gently pressed and fermented to dryness in barrel. The oak employed allows the Chenin flavours to shine, without being masked by excessive new oak character. Nevertheless barrel-fermentation allows for a gentler, longer and more extended flavour development.
The wine rests on its lees for a further 10 months in barrel, which imparts a richness and nutty character to augment the fruit flavours.
If further aged (for up to fifteen years) the wine will develop a deep honey colour and character with the richness and spicy nutty flavours complementing the deep, candied fruit characters of an aged wine.