Chidaine’s Le Bouchet Returneth!

Chidaine’s Le Bouchet Returneth!

Posted on Jul, 21. 2011 by

Categories: Wine

It’s back, just like that…and it’s not a pre-order! Last time, we offered the Francois Chidaine Le Bouchet Vouvray on pre-order, sold a bunch of it, and it took perhaps 8 months to finally arrive on a boat. This time, what do they do? Suddenly, just a couple months after the ’08’s arrive, all the ’09 Chidaine stuff is just here, no preorder, no warning, and I have just a few days to figure out what to do before it’s all gone. So I took 4 cases (they only had 5, but it wouldn’t be right to monopolize all the stuff that made it into the US, would it?). Here it is, one of the very best examples of long-aging Chenin Blanc (which is the only Chenin Blanc!) on the planet…again at such a steal of a price, I’m thrilled just to be actually writing this email right now and actually have the wine on hand. In fact, I took a bottle home last week to try it out, and I love this stuff even more than before. Such energy, such youthful exuberance and plush pear syrup and dank, stony classicity. Such profundity.

I suppose it just all comes down to this: if you were to ask me, off the cuff, name your favorite cellar white wine under $25, eleven times out of ten this wine is my response. Sure, there are better things for hot days on the patio, or to pair with certain dishes, but most occasions, I’d rather be drinking this. Now, not everyone shares my palate, my affinity for the best white grape on the planet, but for those who do, I challenge you to find a better Chenin for this price that will last this long and deliver this much sheer joy for the next two+ decades.

The price has actually gone down a bit from last year, and of course WA’s Schildknecht still has great things to say:

Quince preserves, honey, and high-toned herbal and floral essences on the nose of Chidaine’s 2009 Vouvray Le Bouchet – from a site with octogenarian vines between his Clos Baudoin and Huet’s Clos du Bourg and not harvested until October 19 – reveal its proclivity for noble rot (even when picked in the first week of October). This is a demi-sec in all but name.. Tangerine cream, candied grapefruit rind, quince preserves, and nougat inform a rich, creamy palate that nonetheless incorporates a welcome persistence of juicy fresh citrus. This combines the best aspects of typical 2009s of its genre with the sense of levity, refreshment, and overall elegance that Francois Chidaine has almost uniquely managed to capture this year. Expect a wine that will be worth following for at least two decades. 92-93+ Points, Drink 2010-2030

If you’re new to the Guild or for some other reason haven’t seen my love note to Francois already, I’ll quote it below, for the third or fourth time. If you’ve seen it already, then, well, you already know how I feel about the matter. That he’s tackled a Vouvray property with such consistent, stunning success is even more reason to worship him:

Francois Chidaine, and Montlouis in general, tend to fly under the radar for the most part, for better or for worse. Vouvray? Huet! Savennieres? Baumard! Montlouis? …? And, considering that Loire Chenin as a whole flies under the radar in the first place, they’re pretty much running in stealth mode when it comes to the wine world at large. While that may be great news for people like me (people who love, love, love Loire Chenin more than any other white wine and don’t mind their favorite estates remaining relatively inexpensive), I can’t help but continue to try to push this amazing wine on all of you. It is the essence of white wine geekery, very little (if any) oak, almost no forward opulence, but tons of minerality and fruit; depth and purity. Even their sweeter wines are precise and intentional without being cloying or lazy. This is the essence of Chenin Blanc: one of those things in life that you should experience as often as possible.

Me, I got hooked on Chidaine 3 or 4 years ago with his Les Tuffeaux, a cellar-worthy demi-sec that we tried at one of the Guild’s very first tastings (I still have every one of those bottles in my cellar, by the way). When Steph and I toured the Loire the following year, we made a special point to visit Chidaine’s understated little tasting room/wine shop in Montlouis, located just on the other side of the road from the river Loire. Having only tried the Tuffeaux, and not really having had much experience with Montlouis wines in general, we were nothing short of blown away! Why, oh why, does Vouvray (right across the river from Montlouis) get all the attention, while most people have no idea what/where Montlouis is? That’s the old name-game for you. In any case, Chidaine is the wine that opened my mind and palate to the wonder of Montlouis: their wines have the finesse and craftsmanship of Huet, the balance of minerality and fruit of Closel, and a playful softness that just warms my heart (really!).

These are some of my favorite white Loire bottlings, not only because of their beauty and precision, but because of their cellarability. They show pleasantly well up front, but can age for a decade or more, especially in the case of the demi-secs. And I know I’ll get no protests when I say that few things are as amazing as aged Chenin…so we’re bringing you this pre-arrival offer in order to get your cellar stocked. These bottles are not in the country just yet, but the importer is giving us the opportunity to pre-order them now (don’t delay…the high Parker scores mean little to none will be available by the time it actually arrives, and even then, northern VA will likely take whatever is left over)

2009 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Le Bouchet
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $22.73 • Premier Cru: $23.77 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $31.00
Buy Now!

As I said above, we’ve only got 4 cases minus the one bottle I took, so we may need to allocate—please let us know your maximum requested amount and we’ll do our best to fill your order!

2 Responses to “Chidaine’s Le Bouchet Returneth!”

  1. Phil

    17. Dec, 2014

    I all the timee emailed thjis blog post page to all my friends,
    because if like too read it afterward my
    links will too.

  2. Rick Kepner

    14. Jul, 2015

    While searching for Chidaine Le Bochet 2009 I came across this article. It was a great write-up and I agree completely. I was lucky to purchase a year ago and in hindsight, if I had tried one upon purchase, I may have obtained many more. I will pursue this vintner’s Vouvray from this vineyard in the future. I am now searching for more recent years in there hope there is more availability.

    I have close friends in Charlottesville and was just there 2 weeks ago. Membership doesn’t make sense for me but I encouraged them to check your membership out.

    FYI – I have been a long-time devotee of TJ and visited Monticello many times while in Richmond working there for 11 months years ago.