TN: 2017 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Les Grézeaux

Oh, I thought that’s a given. Even some of the greatest wines can fall apart overnight if left in room temperature. If I ever have any leftovers, I always put them in the fridge immediately.

It wasn’t sweet, so that bumped up the score. :wink:


Afternoon all,

I’ve found the 2017 Baudry’s quite accessible - as far as his wines go. When I had this I I found about two hours in a decanter to be adequate protection from turning my gums into leather. This was quite a nice drink after all that time in a decanter.

I suppose it is good that someone takes pure Cabernet Franc from the Loire very seriously indeed. Might it be possible, however, that Baudry takes Chinon a little too seriously? An MW chum of mine says I’m mad ageing Baudry as Chinon is best drank young. He admits to never having tried a serious Baudry wine young, though.

When I was a youth I was given some 1979 Joguet Dioterie at the same time as I was expecting half a case of the 95 to be delivered. It was a delicate, scented beauty. So I thought I must age my 95s. Then I tried one and absolutely loved it. That leafiness, rasping tannins and nearly-blackcurrant fruit all fizzing with vivacious acid was totally winning.

So next time I saw the chap who gave me the 79, a winemaker himself, I gave him a bottle of the 95 blind. He guessed it as Chinon but couldn’t name producer or anything more. What he did say is, “This is how you should drink Chinon, when it is full of life, when it makes you feel alive!” Why did he have a bin full of Dioterie 79 then? He said he swapped some wine and he didn’t have a chance to drink it the summer after he received it and after that it was just too old! “But interesting taste, no?” So I drank my 95s and didn’t regret popping a single bottle as they were all delicious.

Which brings me to Baudry. As one goes up his quality levels the wines get ferociously tough. I bought a few bottles and a mag of La Croix Boisee(sp?) 15. In the middle of lockdown I thought I’d pop one. So in the morning I opened one, double decanted it with plenty of swirling and sloshing before leaving it as brooding darkness in the corner of the room to have with my evening meal. Come dinner time, my partner and I found it so austere and tough it was almost painful. It was reasonably close to being undrinkable.

I recounted this tale on Facebook and a number of people chimed in telling of their similar experiences with it. Another MW chum said it would never come around and I should sell my remaining mag and bottles to an idiot who’d be impressed by the name, cuvée and vintage.

I’ve kept them, but I’m beginning to think these people are right. Young, lightish, or even heavy-ish, Chinon that’s not too extracted is a delight to drink young. Baudry just seems uncompromisingly tough and I seriously doubt that the person who will inherit my bottles when I die will not live long enough for it to soften into an entity that will pleasure them immensely.

What do people think about drinking Chinon young/old? Has anyone actually had a serious cuvée from Baudry from a top vintage that has softened into a delicious beauty? Should Chinon really be made like that? Does anyone want to buy mine? (I kiddest, of course.) I welcome people’s views!


Pardon the reference, Davey Duck-pants, but that’s crazy talk. Seriously, that MW is off his rocker and just does not understand Loire Cab Franc.

The more basic cuvees are quite delicious when young. Try Baudry’s Cuvee Domaine and Les Granges. I buy a lot of these and generally drink them within 1-2 years. The upper-tier cuvees, Grezeax, Guillot and Croix Boissee, in quality years are true vin de gardes that command aging. In the last month I have had all three of the 2010, including the Croix Boissee two nights ago. The Guillot is open and ready for business, The Croix Boissee really could use 3-5 more years, and Grezeauz just just hitting its stride and will be even better in a few years. The 2005 Croix Boissee that I had last year - now that’s a big structured vintage - is really just starting to open, as was a 2005 Rougeard Les Poyeaux, that latter of which is a flat out phenomenal wine, not just a phenomenal Loire. I have quite a bit of 2005 Joguet that I will not touch for a few more. Like a fool I drank up all of the 2005 Franc de Pied.

Here is my recent note on the Grezeaux:

The winemakers that tend to require age among their quality cuvées are those like Baudry, Joguet, Plouzeau, Rougeard, Breton, Lenoir, et al.

Believe it or not, the $15 Domaine Guion commands time!

Some of the young domaines, like Roche Neuves, seem to be making wine that are readily approachable in their infancy but will mature nicely as well. The Franc de Pies are so slurpable but not simple at all. Thierry Germain also has some ancient vines, I’m sure those wines will age nicely, though admit that I have not had one over 5 years of age since these are new bottlings - new vineyards that he has just acquired.

For any of the naysayers, go find some library release 1989 and 1990 Olga Raffault Les Picasses. These are classic, archetype Chinons. I had them on release, and have had many of them throughout their maturity, including a couple last year. I can assure you that these wines are far more complex and intriguing now than within 5 years of release. These wines were will into their tertiary phase but still have very fresh, ripe fruit. These are stellar Chinons. Actually, in a broad line-up a couple years ago from 1979 to some Loires from the late 2000s, the ‘79 Raffault was WOTN for some (MarcF, for example).


My pink, duck-embroidered, cord trousers are just stupendous, aren’t they? How often does one find an item of clothing as brilliant as them?

Good, I’m glad I kept the Baudry. I would rather it matured into a graceful swan. When I asked (on social media) if the quite serious producer’s (but I forget the name [swoon.gif]) top, old vines Cuvée of the Chinon this MW sold was worth cellar time, he replied, “Come on Davy, you know we like Chinon as young as possible!”. I thought,“Get knotted with your ‘we’! I think Cabernet Franc ages and I will spend my money at another wine merchant who has mags of Clos Guillot 15!”.

You nave reassured me and restored my faith in my opinions - hell’s bells, where would I be without my opinions?!?

One question, then, when will these two Baudry 15s I have be entering their drinking windows? I’d rather more mature than not quite ready…

Thank you, Robert, you are a solid chap.

I haven’t had ‘17, but other than the possibility of Brett, nothing about the report (day 1 or 2) sounds familiar or right. I’m guessing that the hotel or the distributor cooked this bottle before it hit the minibar. But if not, it’s very hard to square with historical precedent or typical experience. Personally I find Grezeaux sometimes tough and structured on release, needing time in the cellar to calm down, but never structurally unsound in the way described above on Day 2.

On the idea that a magnum of young Baudry will never come around, that sounds like dumb-dumb talk from someone who lacks essential experience and judgment.

A question I haven’t seen asked is whether Adam normally drinks and/or likes Loire CF. I suspect my impression of this same wine would be much better, but then I really like both Loire CF generally and Baudry specifically. If someone didn’t have a lot of experience with either I’d suggest a more forward vintage, like '15, '18, or '19.

This is my first Chinon ever, as far as I know. [cheers.gif]

I think that explains a lot. I would suggest you try the Baudry Domaine or les Granges bottlings from '18 or '19, as they might provide a better primer into the style. In my opinion hallmarks of Chinon can include pyrazines, slightly tart berries, strong mineral and chalk, sometimes a touch of brett, scents and flavors of cigar ash, intensity without weight, and a lot of other scents and flavors that are very interesting but rather unique. In cooler vintages and from certain sites these are more pronounced. A riper vintage will have some of these same characteristics but buffered with riper fruit.

My sensitive eyes are still scorched from that website viewing, either from the brilliance of the pants or the whiteness of your skin, perhaps both causing a reflection that left an indelible imprint on my faculties!

As for the wines, 2015 in Loire Cab Franc, in my humble opinion, is a reasonably ripe vintage. I would guess 10 years on the Croix Boissee. Grab a Guillot, it’s wonderful in 2015, very round and plummy for a Cab Franc, like the merlot of the Baudry stable. Generally I prefer Grezeaux and Croix Boissee to the Guilott - though I usually buy all of them - in 2015, Guillot may have stolen the show. I actually enjoyed it quite much just on release.

Uh, perhaps stick to riesling??? neener

Seriously, I wouldn’t have drunk this with a rigatoni dish. Just sayin.

No fooling, but I can give you a worse example. In SF a restaurant had Clos Rougeard on the list For $100. Of course I ordered it. My wife insists on MB and spaghetti, I begged and pleaded with her to order something else to no avail. After dinner she admitted it was a bad choice.

I’m all for exploring new categories, but you’ve really practiced the art of dissing wines you’re not familiar with (cf. German rieslings).

Pyrazines are really the signature of Loire cab franc (arguably, brett, too), and, as others have said, the Les Grézeaux is Baudry’s most “serious” bottling, needing some age. Of course, pyrazines have been demonized in California.

Like good red Burgundy, the best Chinons can develop into something lush and even fruity that is unimaginable in their youth – unless you’ve experienced their progression. If you want to learn about them, see if you can get ahold of an Olga Raffault '89 or '90 Les Picasses. Every few years, the winery releases a bit more and they come on the US market. A bottle of the '89 I bought retail last summer (~$80) was drinking superbly.

As Jayson said, the idea of the '17 Baudry cracking up over the course of the day at room temperature is very strange.

Like others above, I would avoid Chinon with your average, tomato-ey American Bolognese sauce. Lots of potential to mess up the wine experience there. By contrast, a young Raffault Chinon I had once with a rich duck ragu on papperdelle was terrific because the sauce was buttery and probably had some meat reduction.

I would think La Croix Boisee is Baudry’s most serious bottling although Grezeaux is plenty serious. Agree with the rest of the comments.


You’re right, of course, Al. But, as you say, the Grezeaux isn’t meant to be a quaffer.

Indeed. I’ve popped current release Grezeaux to get a read on buying more, but I know what to expect. Also, that is sometimes as well as they are going to show until they have matured.


I agree with the above points, but especially about the food. Your thread inspired me to open a 2015 Grezeaux which was absolutely stellar with my pork loin roast stuffed with manchego and sage tonight. I think the pairing hurt you. I’ve had other times when I’ve thought a Chinon would work with a dish and a Coravin sample proves otherwise. I’m a relative newbie to the Loire! So if you’re really interested in what Baudry is about (or even just a delicious Loire CF), then I also second Michael’s suggestion above to try a Domaine or Grange bottling to get the house style in a more immediately accessible way. But at the end of the day, it’s a Loire CF, which isn’t everyone’s thing. Cheers!


I’d be dismissing a great amount of Bordeaux, Piedmont, Bandol, traditional Rioja and syrah from Northern Rhone if I drank them young and without any understanding of their present structure and how they will terrifically transform with some aging. Could be an old-world wine thing, but it is what it is for me.

Besides, as everybody had posted, a rich, heavy tomato-based dish can really kill the mood with a traditional-style cabernet franc.