Damien Laureau: Loire Valley
One of the new super-stars of the Loire Valley, Damien Laureau now has nearly 20 vintages of experience behind him. Starting in the mid 90’s working with his uncle in the Anjou near St Gemmes, he has since bought and rented several prime parcels in the small Savennieres appellation including a tiny parcel of the prime Roche aux Moines vineyard. Today his with very small family holdings Damien farms a total of just 8.5 hectares ensuring he can grow the best possible quality from these vineyards.
Savennieres and its sub-appellations of Roche aux Moines and Coulee de Serrant are well recognised as some of the great vineyard sites of Anjou (and indeed of all France). This tiny appellation planted to just 156 hactares is well known for producing some of the most noble and age-worthy dry white wines of France.
Working organically in the vineyards he harvests by hand making successive tries throughout each vineyard ending with yields that are much lower than the AOC rules. He vinifies with natural yeasts and with very low levels of S02 in the cellar also lets the wines pass through malolactic fermentation giving stability to the wines without compromising the freshness and minerality so typical of this appellation. Ageing is done in both tanks and barrel for some wines and this is adapted to each wine as it needs (there is no new oak used and the goal is never to have oak showing in the wines). This results in wines of striking purity with terrific depth and intensity with each wine showing clearly the soil origins of each parcel of grapes. These are wines that give great pleasure now and also have the capacity to age well.
“Undoubtedly the future star of Savennieres” – La Revue du Vin de France
All wines 100% Chenin blanc vinified with no S02 and put through malolactic fermentation to enable bottling with little or no S02.
2015 Savennieres “La Petite Roche”
Made from young vines planted on schist from a vineyard planted between Savennieres and La Possonniere. From yields of 35 hl/ha. Pure fine aromas of bright chenin fruit with real delicacy and precision. Focused yet polished on the palate with intense fruit and gentle layers of texture and bright cleansing acidity giving the wine great definition and length. A fresher finer style giving great enjoyment already.
2013 Savennieres “Les Genets” – 750ml + 1500ml
Damien describes this wine as his favourite and also his best wine for drinking young. In 2013 this wine is made from tiny yields of 17 hl/ha from vines planted on sand in some of the highest parts of the appellation located up behind Roches aux Moines in the lieu-dit of Moulin de Beaupres. The sandy silty topsoil gives wines that are more approachable young and this cuvee is mostly aged in tank with just 10% aged in barrel.
2013 Savennieres “Belle Ouvrage”
Made from tiny yields of 17 hl/ha as this wine is produced from the “heart” of the pressings with perfectly ripe grapes avoiding both green grapes and botrytis. From older vines on schist and phtanite soils within the Chambourcier lieu-dit, the wine is fermented in tank but aged in barrel for at least 12 months plus tank for another 6 months before bottling. Deep rich and textured with real finesse and intensity and layers of fruit and mineral complexity giving a thoroughly Burgundian feel to the wine.
2014 Roche aux Moines
Made from a small .25 ha parcel rented from the Baron Brincard holdings in this famous vineyard which lies beside Coulee de Serrant. Damiens holding faces south-east sharing similar ryolite base to its soils to Coulee de Serrant with an overlay of schist and sand. The vines were planted in the 1970’s and its small yield is aged in 400 litre demi-muids. Fine deep aromas of pear and plum with hints of mineral on this finely structured and very deep wine. Will age superbly.
2012 Savennieres “Les Genets” – a small quantity of 1500ml magnums is all that is available for our first shipment of this wine
Damien describes this wine as his favourite and also his best wine for drinking young. In 2012 this wine is made from tiny yields of 17 hl/ha from vines planted on sand in some of the highest parts of the appellation located up behind Roches aux Moines in the lieu-dit of Moulin de Beaupres. The sandy silty soil gives wines that are more approachable young and this cuvee is mostly aged in tank with just 10% aged in barrel.
“Golden in color the 2012 Savennières Les Genêts offers a clear bouquet of ripe yellow-fleshed fruits along with some honey flavors and coolish-spicy earthy aromas. Full-bodied, nervously fresh but elegant on the palate this stimulating wine is lovely pure, salty and full of tension whereas its mineral structure gives it a persistent and thrilling length. 91 points” erobertparker.com #215 October 2014
2012 Savennieres “Belle Ouvrage”
Made from tiny yields of 17 hl/ha. Produced from the “heart” of the pressings with perfectly ripe grapes avoiding both green grapes and botrytis.
“From older vines on schist and phtanite soils, the golden 2012 Savennières Le Bel Ouvrage offers a very deep, intense yet pure, precise, fresh and complex aroma on the nose added by some hints of speck. Full-bodied and rich on the palate this noble and polished Chenin blanc (which fermented in tank but aged in barrel for at least 12 months plus tank for another 6 months before bottling) is very intense, elegant and well balanced and develops an impressive sweet, dense, profound and persistent taste of cooked and ultra-ripe mangos, quinces, peaches and apricot chutney with ginger and honey – a composition which indicates the full ripeness of the manually selected berries and the generosity of this Savennières. With a salty, complex and very long finish this is an impressive wine indeed. 93 points” erobertparker.com #215 October 2014