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2022 Savennières “Cuvée Spéciale”

Château d'Epiré
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In his book Adventures, Kermit outlines the magic of old-school Savennières, aged in chestnut casks. The rise of stainless steel sadly put many such coopers out of business, but fortunately the team at Château d’Épiré can still count on one reliable chestnut purveyor. This material is an excellent match for schist-born Chenin Blanc, as it accentuates the wine’s stony austerity without imparting any woody flavor. The blend also includes a couple barrels each of acacia, highlighting Chenin’s subtle floral tendencies, and old oak, exalting its fleshy structure with nary a hint of vanilla or toast. With a rigid backbone of acidity and a bone-dry finish recalling fresh walnuts, this is quintessential Savennières.

Anthony Lynch

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Technical Information
Wine Type: white
Vintage: 2022
Bottle Size: 750mL
Blend: Chenin Blanc
Appellation: Savennières
Country: France
Region: Loire
Producer: Château d'Épiré
Winemaker: Paul Bizard
Vineyard: Planted in 1989, 1.5 ha
Soil: Schist
Aging: Ages for about 6 months sur lie in very old chestnut demi-muids
Farming: Lutte Raisonnée
Alcohol: 13.5%

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About The Region

Loire

map of Loire

The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?

Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.

Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.

Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.

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Inspiring Thirst

A good doctor prescribed the wine of Nuits-Saint-Georges to the Sun King, Louis XIV, when he suffered an unknown maladie. When the king’s health was restored the tasty remedy enjoyed a vogue at court. Lord, send me a doctor like that!

Inspiring Thirst, page 117

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