TN: 2020 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Blanc La Croix Boissée

2020 Domaine Bernard Baudry Chinon Blanc La Croix Boissée - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Chinon (7/30/2022)
What to say? Very nice, quality wine, tasty, but fails to inspire, particularly at its price point. Plenty of flavor and intensity, but misses some zip and complexity I'd like to find. Not fat or overblown, but just a little... plump. Enjoyable, but uninspiring. (88 points)

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I really like the concept of La Croix Boissée Blanc. Sometimes I also really like the wine, although I don’t have any notes on the 2020 vintage to hand. I think it would suit my palate better if it didn’t go through malolactic though; I can’t get away from the feeling it does much to shape the palate into that ‘plumpness’ you describe.

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Anyone gotten into the 2020 Rouge?

I had the 2018 just last week and had the exact same impression. I was hoping that I just didn’t give it enough attention. Or maybe it didn’t deserve more attention. I have two more bottles and doubt I’ll hold them long.

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Chris, first, glad to see you around here.

Is there a general approach to malolactic for chenin across the Loire, or does everyone domtheir kwn thing? It’s not something I’ve read much about there.

I get the pushback on the plumpness, but to me CBB really shines in high acid vintages.

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Could be. I’ve only had the 2018 which was not a high acid vintage. And I do suspect that was a missing element.

For Alan, I think that there is a wide range of approaches for Chenin regarding malo, oak, etc. There are a bunch of new producers popping up and experimenting, similar to Champagne.

  • the other Chris

There are a couple of broad generalisations that cane be made, but ultimately it is down to the individual winemaker.

Historically, Vouvray is a no malolactic appellation. The archetypal Vouvray is 100% Chenin, no overt oak influence (there are obvious exceptions), no malolactic, early bottling the spring after the vintage. Going back to the days of Noel Pinguet he recounted his experience with malolactic in Vouvray; at that time (this must have been around 2009/2010) it had only happened twice, on an individual vat, 20% of the blend, of the 2003 Le Mont Moelleux, and the entire blend of the 2008 Clos du Bourg Moelleux 1T. I’m not sure what has happened at Huet post-2014, but I would think malolactic remains a rarity.

The other generalisation I would make is that the less interventionist a winemaker is the more likely his wines are to go through malolactic, and this includes those in Vouvray reducing sulphite additions. As soon as a vigneron reduces/stops sulphite additions they open the door to malolactic bacteria. So the more natural styles coming from the Loire, whether in the Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine, the Central Vineyards, have almost always gone through malolactic.

MLF is a strange beast because sometimes I think I find it obvious, and the Baudry La Croix Boissée Blanc is one where I think it sticks out (as an aside, in the early years Bernard Baudry took some advice from Noël Pinguet on LCB Blanc and Noël like the wine - but suggested they stopped the malolactic). In other wines I will readily admit that I like them and see nothing that speaks to me of the malolactic - there are probably many examples but one that jumps to mind is Damien Laureau in Savennières.

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One potential problem; those vintages are becoming rare in the Loire. The 2021 vintage was a welcome return to fresher, more acid-defined style (but a difficult, frosted vintage), but before that the last vintage in which I got excited about the acidities was 2014.