The Francois Chidaine Montlouis Les Choisilles Sec is a drop-dead value, winelovers. It punches way above its price point in terms of caliber and deliciousness. We had it with Indian food and each ingredient became elevated by the other. Try it with seared tuna and kimchi/scallion pancakes or buttermilk fried chicken with a side of celery root remoulade. The richness of the fried chicken and the creaminess of the remoulade are perfect opposite the crisp florality and beautifully balanced acidity of this Montlouis. A last course of Humboldt Fog goat cheese with dried apples or a Clementine creme brulee will be the meal’s icing on the cake, or just another glass, solo.François Chidaine of Montlouis-sur-Loire in the Loire Valley is a pioneer of natural viticulture whose awakening around saving his soils led him to embrace regenerative farming. It all began in Les Bournais, an old vine parcel on a limestone plateau overlooking the Loire River, and a place referred to by Chidaine as “magical”. In this vineyard, Chidaine has a mix of over 25 sowed and indigenous plants between vine rows, which make up his year round cover crop. He does not till the vineyard in an effort to increase biodiversity, reduce erosion, retain moisture, and add vitality to the soils and eco-system. He believes this achieves a deeper expression of terroir and since it helps to draw down carbon from the atmosphere, is also key to saving the planet. Chidaine’s pensive, perceptive approach in the vineyard and in the cellar (where he has an exceptionally deft hand) has influenced a generation of winegrowers. Robert Parker, Jr.’s Wine Advocate: “Chidaine’s 2019 Montlouis sur Loire Les Choisilles is deep, pure, fresh and refined on the nose but still very young, with lemon leaf, chalk and sur lie aromas. On the palate, this is a rich and concentrated Chenin, but it reveals remarkable freshness and energy. It is a bit unfair to compare it to the 2018, which has a year more of development, but I have to, and I am still amused by the 2019, which lifts Les Choisilles to unknown heights. The salinity and mineral grip are really beautiful here in the finish, and I believe the wine can age for two decades. Highly attractive pineapple flavors on the aftertaste. Tasted in March 2021. Drink 2024-2040.The vines have been cultivated organically since 1992 and biodynamically since 1999. The domaine’s 20 hectares of the Montlouis-sur-Loire appellation (which is located on a plateau upstream from Tours, where the Loire and Cher Valleys meet) are spread over 30 or so parcels located mainly in Husseau. “The deep roots of the vines seek freshness in our tuffeau subsoil, the typical white chalk of Touraine,” wrote François, after we have met in Stuttgart nearly two years ago for the last time. “We take care of our flinty clay soils in which we can find our famous small black flints nicknamed ‘choisilles,’ which transmit to our wines the elegant minerality that characterizes them.” Aug 2021Bottle750ml, corkFarmingCertified Organic & BiodynamicVarietal100% Chenin BlancAlcohol13.5%Agingin a combination of tank & used demi-muidsRegionMontlouis, Loire Valley, France
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