Domaine de la Noblaie Les Blancs Manteaux Chinon 2021  £21.45


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Domaine de la Noblaie Les Blancs Manteaux Chinon 2021

Jérôme Billard is a name to watch in Chinon. His wines are some of the most impressive examples from the Loire Valley. Although the domaine has a long history, dating back to the 16th century (it may once have been the property of the Knights Templar), the vineyards were abandoned until Jérôme’s grandfather acquired them in 1952. It’s under Jérôme, who studied in Dijon and has worked for the Moueix family at both Pétrus in Bordeaux and Dominus in California, that it has come to prominence. Jerome’s vineyards lie at the highest point in Chinon and the sloping limestone soils are home to organically farmed Cabernet Franc. He combines the best of both traditional and modern techniques (including using a remarkable 15th century fermentation vat) to produce Chinon that has pure fruit and good ageing potential.

Consisting of beautiful plateaus and clay/chalk hillsides, our vineyard shelters 20 hectares of Cabernet Franc and 6 of Chenin, the only varieties permitted in Chinon AOC. Our vines are surrounded by woods which protect them from frost and storms, and are studded with plots of cereals, peas and sunflowers, all cultivated organically.

The wildlife, both wild and domesticated, is important too. Chickens run constantly among the vines nearest the cellar. A little further away, beehives have been humming for decades. A flock of ewes graze the grassland and fallow plots in summer and feed on the vegetation among the vines during winter.

As lovers of the local tuffeau stone and of our heritage, we have restored the buildings surviving from the past. Besides those for general farming, they include the cellars and their presses, witnesses of wine-making activity stretching back centuries.


Terroir

East-south-east facing hillside, on “Tuffeau” limestone from the Upper Turonian.

Vinification

Hand harvested. Moved through the winery by gravity.

Slow and gentle maceration, without harsh extraction, in order to reveal the aromatic complexity of this great terroir

Ageing

12 months on lees in 500 litre barrels to open up the wine while avoiding obvious oak aromas, then time in stainless steel vat before bottling.


94 Points Decanter

Les Blancs Manteaux is one of Domaine de la Noblaie's two single vineyards. The vines are 70 years old, and planted on tuffeau – the local limestone. The site is at the top of the hill above Ligre – Noblaie's village. This wine is fermented with natural yeasts and is then aged for 12 months in 500-litre oak barrels and then for a further three months in stainless steel tanks before bottling. Deep, dense colour with ripe black fruit aromas, in particular blackberry. It has good structure along with some freshness on the long finish. Still youthful, it will certainly develop in bottle with the potential to age for at least 15-20 years.

Jim Budd

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