Domaine Des Baumard Quarts de Chaumes 1999, 375ml, Loire Valley, France

The sweet wines of Domaine des Baumard are from vineyards planted along the Layon River, which flows northwest into the Loire. The perfectly exposed vineyards in the appellation Côteaux du Layon allow the Chenin Blanc grape to ripen perfectly in most years, often enriched by the development of botryitis. For the production of sweet wine, Florent Baumard prefers to harvest as late as the vintage weather permits, hoping for plenty of botrytis. The grapes are harvested in successive passes or “tries” through the vineyard, and any unsatisfactory fruit is eliminated. The grapes are pressed quickly using a pneumatic press and the must fermented under temperature control. Aging is done strictly without oak to preserve the elements of fruit and terroir. The magnificent Quarts de Chaume is a fascinating wine, with a compelling intensity and authority of site which informs each vintage. Always long-lived, in great vintages this wine can be almost immortal, improving for decades. “Satiny golden liquid, the Quart de Chaume is sweet, well-balanced and ample. It develops a mellow fruit complexity, with honey and spicy aromas. It even offers a slight bitter touch of its own – a remarkable aging wine.” – Winemaker’s Notes