Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon 2005, Loire, France

Venerable historic estate in the appellation of Coteaux dy Layon founded in 1787 and best known for their sweet Chenin blancs, which are released after a minimum of 10 years of aging, with a range of available older vintages spanning 40-50 years! Due to their distance from the Loire, vineyards in the Layon see less botrytis than other sweet wine sectors (mainly passerillage). Wines can vary in sweetness levels, with some clearly in the luscious, honeyed dessert range, and others more like Auslese (perhaps better with cheese than desserts). Founded in 1787, Moulin Touchais has been passed down through eight generations of vignerons. The estate is renowned for producing a sweet Chenin that is aged a minimum of 10 years in the seemingly endless cellars located in the village of Doué-la-Fontaine. This tradition was born following the second World War when wine had little value and was very difficult to sell. Once the market began to rebound and the estate finally released their cellared stocks, they noticed that long-term ageing had resulted in a gorgeous evolution in bottle, and thus, 10 years became the minimum amount of time a vintage must be in cellar prior to release. The estate is one of the few that offers a range of vintages, often 30-40 years old or older! 20% of the grapes are picked around 80 days after flowering when the fruit is slightly under-ripe and loaded with acidity, and the remaining 80% is harvested in multiple passes as late as 100-120 days after flowering, which generally yields fruit with very high concentration and sugar levels. Because each vintage has its own particular late harvest conditions, the wines can vary slightly in both sweetness and flavor profile. While some vintages boast classic mature dessert Chenin aromas like baked apples and pears and honey, others are a bit less sweet (more like a ripe Auslese) with aromas of sweet green apples, chamomile tea and minerals, along with more obvious acidity.