Harmonious and polished Cabernet Franc based Loire Rosé fizz, from a top producer
One of the Loire’s most lauded producers, Florent Baumard has courted controversy by pursuing his own ideas and challenging the status quo.
In a deeply traditional region, Florent's early adoption of screwcaps and different vine trellising systems marked him out as the enfant terrible of Savennières. His mantra now encompasses a belief in the individuality of each vintage, believing it should be made with minimal intervention to allow the wine to reflect its vintage and unique character. His Savennières from the famous vineyards of Clos St Yves and Clos du Papillon are rich, yet with a balance and elegance that are unrivalled. His top cuvée of ‘Trie Speciale’ is only made in very exceptional vintages when grape quality is optimal. It is a wine full of paradox, honeyed and yet dry, rounded and yet firm. The rich fruit, tremendous weight and concentration ensure that it is a thoroughly memorable experience.
The Baumard approach to viticulture is a notable one, and it does make it easy to spot the Baumard vines in any given appellation. They are trained in a fashion Baumard describe as vignes hautes et larges (sometimes abbreviated to VHL); the larges refers to the distance between the vines, a remarkable 3 metres between the rows and 0.8 metres between each vine, whereas the hautes refers to the high trellising system employed, taking the vines to a height of more than 2 metres, the object being to obtain a large surface area of foliage. During the vegetative period they see limited leaf-thinning along their base, but otherwise there is little intervention at this time, not even topping-off of the upper shoots as they reach for the sky above. Between the rows, the soil is alternatively ploughed and grassed over, a methodology the Baumards have been following for well over 40 years. The harvest is manual, and the fruit transported in small plastic cages to minimise damage.
The fruit is hand harvest to ensure that only the best quality is used. On arrival at the winery, it is placed in a pneumatic press but only the first press wine is used. The first fermentation is in temperature controlled tanks with Cabernet Franc, Grolleau and Pinot Noir being fermented separately. After blending refermentation takes place in the bottle and the wine is then aged on its lees for over a year.
Tasting Note: A very fine, pale pink hue, the nose is enticing, full of peachy fresh fruit, nuanced with early tinges of honeycomb, and some red fruits sprinkled with mint. Absolutely packed with vivacious fruits held up by a lively acidity. Delicious hints of strawberry and cream, sprinkled with notes of black pepper on the palate. Harmonious and polished, this beautifully crafted sparkling wine has a vibrant, lively mousse.
Critics: Jancis Robinson 16.3/20 (Average Producer Score)
Cabernet Franc 65%, Grolleau 25%, Pinot Noir 10%