2019 Chateau de Bonnezeaux Frimas
ORIGIN: Loire Valley, France
GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
Special Notes: natural, organic, no added sulphites
Château De Bonnezeaux has become, seemingly overnight, one of the most exciting producers in the Loire Valley.
This is despite them not producing a single bottle of wine in over 30 years...but in 2012, these once abandoned vineyards began their slow road to recovery, led by winemaker Guyonne Saclier de la Bâtie. After much work, the first release was the 2016 vintage. I tasted these first at the Renaissance des Appellations tasting in 2019 and they were the Loire Valley talk of the event. I contacted them shortly after but they didn't have enough wine; they contact me recently with the good news that they did and would like to begin working with us.
Guyonne worked under the legendary Mark Angeli at Ferme de Sansonniere which meant that she also worked alongside the equally legendary Stéphane Bernaudeau! Angeli pioneered the use of biodynamic farming in the region and was one of the first winemakers to produce high-quality dry wine where only sweet winemaking was permitted by regulation. Following in Angeli’s footsteps, Bâtie implemented biodynamic farming at Château de Bonnezeaux and began producing dry wines of extraordinary quality.
It's not hard to see how the wines have gained a cult following, they are incredibly compelling. They combine density with complexity, incisiveness and a fine mineral backbone. They are rare though, we will never have much.
Tasting Notes: Dry Loire Chenin this - quite punchy and opulent in the ripeness of the fruit, lots of midsummer pear and apple, with honeycomb and apricot that gives the mouthfeel huge density and complexity while still preserving a dry mineral backbone.