Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bernard Baudry in 06 and 07

At the Polaner tasting last week I spent some time at the Domaine Bernard Baudry table, tasting wine and hanging out with Bernard's son Matthieu. As Lyle Fass has already said, the wines were just fantastic across the board. So far I really like the 2007's in the Loire. They remind me of 2007 in Burgundy - the opposite of a blockbuster vintage. From the right hands the wines are crystal clear, totally unadorned.

It was fascinating to taste Bernard Baudry's 2006 and 2007 Clos Guillot next to one another. Clos Guillot, by the way, is from young vines - about 15 years and younger. But it is a great site with clay and limestone soil and the wines are already excellent. As the vines become older, watch out! Maybe this is why Baudry vinifies this wine in much the same way that he vinifies his top wine, La Croix Boissée - fermentation in wood and aging in oak.

The 2006 was a bit darker at the core and smelled of wild animals, musk, and leather. Fruit too, but deep dark and brambly. This is a wine that really needs food - something gamy. Or maybe cheese. The 2007 is a completely different wine. Bright and fresh with a core of vividly pure fruit, wrapped in lacy thin layers of spicy earth and minerals. I suppose I might eat something with this wine, but it would have to be something simple with subtle flavors, so as not to overpower the elegance and delicacy of the wine. I would happily drink it on its own.

How can these wines be so absolutely different from one another? Were they vinified differently? Matthieu shrugs and says that they were made in essentially the same way. He says that 2007 was very difficult and yields were down at 32 hl/ha. That there were intense rains and mildew and September saved the vintage. 2006, he said was more generous. Yields were 45 hl/ha and the wines are bigger in structure and more deeply fruited. One might normally assume that lower yields means more concentrated fruit - better raw materials. But not if the lower yields are caused by rot and under-ripeness, as was the case in 2007.

A reminder of the most important factor in wine making - climate. A reminder too of the old maxim: great wine makers make good wine in bad vintages.

7 comments:

elwoodwiles said...

Agreed. I recently tasted the 05 and 07 Guillot side by side. The vintage difference was shocking. The 05 was dense and powerful, but retained an excellent balance. The 07, was much more lithe and transparent, but by no means lacking in interesting qualities. Matthieu felt the 05 was for long-term aging, but the 07 would drink well now and into the mid-term.

Meanwhile I've been drinking the 07 Les Granges - it sings for only a song.

Mike Drapkin said...

Brooklynguy:

Somehow I missed the Baudry wines last week. Thanks for the wrap up.

Brooklynguy said...

hey elwoodwiles - agreed on everything. the song too.

hey mike - that's too bad. you'd LOVE them.

saignee said...

I just opened a bottle of the '06 two nights ago with a lamb shank, blue cheese and blueberry. Really nice meaty stuff, perfect with food. Decant for a good long while. I have also tried his Franc de Pied bottlings. Better than the Guillot stuff, but they will need a few years to integrate.

ty said...

2007 Les Granges has been my favorite wine for the last three weeks. Charms francophiles and spoof-lovers alike. Drank a bottle of the 95' Domaine (which is practically the same price) recently that was so fresh it could have been bottled yesterday.

Brooklynguy said...

saignee - hmm, franc a pied better than guillot. i'd love to taste them all at the same time.

ty - did you buy the 95 recently, or cellar it when it was released?

ty said...

It was cellared at release and I just found out it was actually Croix Boisse; apparently in 95 it was just labeled Domaine.