Cruchet, A World Class Wine

Cruchet, A World Class Wine

Posted on Mar, 15. 2010 by

Categories: Wine

2008 Regis Cruchet, Vouvray Demi-Sec
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $14.30 • Premier Cru: $14.95 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $19.50
Buy this wine!

On Veterans day of 2009 10 gentleman in the wine industry gathered to taste a collection of Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. The menu and wines tasted that day were as follows:

Dinner Menu:

  • Roast Virginia Ham with Butter Rolls
  • Fois Gras Roulade served with fruit compotes and toast points
  • Smoked Trout Mousse with toast points
  • Cheese tray of Blue D’Auvergne and Camembert.

The Wines:

  • 2000 Domaine des Baumard, Savennières. Trie Speciale
  • 1999 Domaine du Epire, Savennières. Cuvee Speciale
  • 1999 Domaine Closel, Savennières. Clos Du Pappillon
  • 2001 Roche Aux Moins, Savennières
  • 2002 Domaine Closel, Savennières. Clos Du Pappillon
  • 2002 Domaine des Baumard, Savennières. Clos Du Pappillon
  • NV Domaine des Baumard, Savennières. Cuvée Ancienne de Jean Baumard
  • 2003 Jo Pithon, Anjou Blanc. Les Trielles
  • 2005 Domaine Deletang ,Montlouis. Sec
  • 2003 Domaine Deletang ,Montlouis Moelleaux
  • 1995 Regis Cruchet, Vouvray. Demi Sec
  • 2002 Regis Cruchet, Vouvray. Demi Sec
  • 2006 Regis Cruchet, Vouvray. Demi Sec
  • 2002 Jo Pithon, Coteaux Du Layon. Les 4 Villages
  • 2002 Domaine des Baumard, Coteaux Du Layon. Clos Saint Catherine
  • 1989 Domaine La Bergerie, Coteaux Du Layon
  • 2005 Domaines des Baumard, Cote D’Or

This was a tasting of what many people find to be the finest white grape varietal in the world. Often thought to be a distant relative to Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc can be just as nuanced, just as mysterious and it can attain the same far reaches of the Sublime that Bourgogne is want to reach.

As interesting and enjoyable an evening as this was it became evident for all involved that a single wine showed far above the others as flawless and truly in a class of its own. I was surprised that with all of the great Savennieres on the table a Vouvray would claim this prize.

Regis Cruchet makes what I believe is the finest Vouvray in the region. To drink them young there is no doubt in your mind that these are well built exceptional wines, but when you have the chance to taste a 15 year old Cruchet Vouvray Demi-Sec you realize that this is a world class wine fit to be on a table with any great wine worth its cork. The 1995 was the wine that turned the heads of every man at the table that evening, The importers notes describe it as:

1995 Régis Cruchet Vouvray Demi Sec

A beautiful vintage! Close your eyes and you’d think this demi sec hadn’t aged a day. A bouquet of wild spring roses and white flowers showered with a spray of freshly squeezed blood orange perfumes a Vouvray of incredible youth and vivacity. Crushed lemon rind, fresh Meyer lemon and almonds linger in the mouth with a refreshing kick of white pepper and spice. Practically a moelleux (touched with noble rot) but its acidic balance gives the impression of dryness. A very dignified, very impressive demi sec.

My notes simply say “amazing.”

Let me emphasize again that this is a wine that is worthy to be at the table of any of the great wines of the world. What makes this fact so interesting is that the Regis Cruchet Vouvray sells for under $20 retail upon release. Granted that to really achieve it’s greatness it needs to be from a good vintage and be cellared for at least 12 years. That said it is still one of the finest Chenin Blancs you are likely to come across at only 2 years old.

This is what is interesting to me personally in the wine world. To be able to find a wine that I can buy for under $20, age and then open next to $300 wines and have it fit right in. This is the art of what we do. It is almost as beautiful as Bull fighting.

Do you think I exaggerate? Do you think I have not spent the better part of my income over the last fifteen years finding out? Only the smile that holds my sagging eyes, my reddening cheeks and my purpling teeth together can tell you the story of the unbelievable wines I have drank up to draw my conclusions. And there is much of this wine in that smile.

As for me, I will buy a case and a bottle of the just released 2008 vintage. This will be the first case of wine purchased from the birth year of my son and I will not touch a bottle from this case until he is able to drink them with me. And I will know that even in my imperfect storage that this wine will only get better in the 18 years I will wait for its (and his) maturity; for a wine that can go 100 years (see the notes below) what is 18 anyway?

The extra bottle I will drink right away as this wine really is amazing both young and old. I highly recommend this to those who are cellaring or for anyone out there who really just wants to taste a perfectly made Chenin Blanc.

Cruchet, Noizay (Vouvray)

If you ask any wine lover in the Loire which varietal is the best—Chenin Blanc or Sauvignon Blanc—they undoubtedly will pick Chenin. The Pineau de la Loire is always the clear winner, for both its complexity of flavors and longevity. While sweet cuveés can age up to 100 years, Vouvray Sec (dry) can also age astonishingly well.

Régis Cruchet is a brutal master of the Pineau, with more than 30% of the harvest not making the cut each vintage. He hand harvests his clay-limestone vineyards that boast older vines, some of which are 40 years old. The Vouvray Sec is 100% Chenin Blanc, slowly and gently pressed and fermented by natural yeasts in large, neutral foudres.

Cruchet Vouvray is packed full of dried white flowers, beeswax, and the smoky-sweet perfume of wild honey with a full palate of pears, melons and apples. If you leave a bottle or two of Cruchet Vouvray Sec in your cellar, one day you will find that a magic transformation has taken place. The world capital of Chenin Blanc is stronger than ever in the hands of young winemakers like Régis Cruchet.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Cruchet wines are 100% Chenin Blanc from vines that, on average, are 40 years old. Grapes are pressed slowly and juice is fermented by natural yeasts in large, neutral foudres.
  • Severe triage in the fields by hand is the norm; often 30% of grapes don’t see the press. Soils are a mixture of clay and limestone, on a base of silex.

2008 Regis Cruchet, Vouvray Demi-Sec
Member Price: [private_member] Grand Cru: $14.30 • Premier Cru: $14.95 [/private_member]
Retail Price: $19.50
Buy this wine!

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