This is our first go-round with Hauts Baigneaux so we aren’t sure how much the 2015 vintage had to do with these fresh, pristine wines. As such, we aren’t ready to declare these guys the second coming of Huet or Chidaine, but the wines impressed the heck out of us.
The Hauts Baigneux Touraine Azay-le-Rideau Blanc Chenin 2015 comes from two vineyards, one in Hauts Baigneaux and one in Sache, with vines 30 to 60 years of age. The grapes were harvested by hand and fermented in demi-muids (600-liter barrels roughly 2.5 times the size of a ‘regular’ barrel, probably ‘neutral’ in this case). The wine then spent 18 months in contact with the lies in a combination of demi-muids, concrete ‘eggs’ and regular barriques.
This shows classic Chenin flavors of peach, apricot and quince, hints of honey and vanilla, with a good bit of subtle but insistent minerality underlying everything. There is a pleasing, slight waxiness to the texture approximating physical fruit, and a precise, restrained clean nip of acidity. The style here we would describe as demi-demi-sec, which hits the perfect note. Some bone dry Chenins can be bitter in the finish, and some demi-secs can be a touch sweet. This one strikes just the right chord and the acid gives it just the right tension. This will age as well, too, only 300 cases made.