Wineries, like all other living things, have life spans. Some are long-lived, multi-generational ventures, while others only last a few years. The majority of the latter fade away without much notice. Victims of the myriad pit-falls of trying to run a business based in nature.
Clos Roche Blanche was both legendary and short-lived. This winery in the Loire Valley was an exception. It was a driving force; creating some of the most dynamic and ground-breaking natural wines of the '90s and '00s. I'll never forget the first time I tasted their Sauvignon Blanc. It was breathtaking. Mineral! Electric! And had nothing in common with the green, overly-pungent New Zealand styles I was accustomed to.
2014 was their final vintage. Fortunately, a portion of their vines, including the famed Sauvignon plot 'Chez Charles' waspassed on to a young winemaker named Noëlla Morantin. She has taken the reigns of this legendary plot and continued to craft, deeply textural, transcendent Sauvignon Blanc.
Today, I'm proud to offer the only bottles of this legendary wine in South Carolina! A wine very close to my heart.
Noëlla has trained with and worked alongside some of the great names of the Loire. A couple of years with Agnès and René Mosse in Anjou led to her becoming the vineyard manager at Les Bois Lucas, then onto renting parcels of the aforementioned Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine. She now makes wine with fruit from a mixture of owned and rented parcels at her beautiful cellar carved out of the hillside.
She chooses to work under the more general Vin de France denomination rather than AOP as her wines stand apart from the perceived notion of Touraine. “If it doesn’t smell like cat piss, you don’t get the appellation” she quips - but only half jokingly. She refers to the prevalence of industrial yeasts used in the area to enhance supposedly typical flavors in the wine. Noëlla ferments with native yeasts and seeks a longer maturation period in old barrels than normal, meaning her wines are released much later than many other producers nearby. This patience is rewarded with sublime depth and texture in the wine; rich and fully-ripened Sauvignon Blanc.
100% Sauvignon Blanc grown on silt, clay, and limestone. Fermented and raised in used oak barrels, on the lees, for an incredibly textural wine.
Bright on the nose with notes of grapefruit, honey, orange zest, and white flowers. The palate is juicy, fresh, and not grassy! Think salty lemonade, ruby red grapefruit, fresh tropical acidity, and deep, piercing minerals. A genre-defying white wine!
I am proud to offer the only bottles of 2018 Nöella Morantin 'Chez Charles' Sauvignon Blanc in South Carolina!