On the pour: Chenin du Puy


For the latest instalment of our series highlighting bottles available to taste in our London Shop, Sophie Thorpe discovers a rich and exotic single-vineyard Chenin Blanc from Saumur in the Loire

2014 Saumur Blanc, Chenin du Puy, Frédéric Mabileau, Loire

What is it? Chenin Blanc doesn’t get nearly enough airtime. This organic and biodynamic example from Saumur in the Loire is made by Frédéric Mabileau – the current generation of a family that has been working the vine since 1620, before we were founded by the Widow Bourne. Frédéric – based as he is in St Nicolas de Bourgueil – focuses on reds (specifically Cabernet Franc), but has started working with this parcel in Saumur.

Why’s it different? This small parcel, Chenin du Puy, is on the hill of Puy Notre Dame; the vines average 46 years in age, planted on clay and limestone soils. Under Frédéric’s watchful eye, they are farmed organically and biodynamically, before being picked by hand in two “tries” (or passes through the vineyard). The fruit is fermented slowly and aged in larger (600-litre) oak barrels, most of which is neutral. The result is a complex, exotic and explosive expression of the grape – yet with oodles of its typical and distinctive acidity, keeping the hedonism in check.

What should I eat with it? There are two clear options here: try either something with a bit of spice, the lushness of the fruit will balance it out (we’re thinking some sort of crispy duck salad or spiced calamari); otherwise we’d go for a dish that is rich and creamy – to make it a fair fight.

How much? £2 for a taste, £27.50 for a bottle

Drop into our London shop at 63 Pall Mall to taste it for yourself.