Clau de Nell Chenin Blanc 2021


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“Located 24 kilometers west of Saumur in Ambillou-Château in the very east of the Anjou appellation and almost bordering the Saumur AC, the 10-hectare Domaine Clau de Nell, purchased by Anne Claude Leflaive and her husband Christian in 2008 and today managed by winemaker (and shareholder) Sylvain Potin, offers a small but fine range of white and red wines from one block with a homogenous soil of clay, silex and sandstone, the latter gives the wines their characteristic energy and tension. The organically farmed, south-facing and wind-exposed vineyards are about 100 meters above sea level and are surrounded by forests, grassland, grain fields and a tree farm, which gives a large natural diversity and certainly also a kind of protection against pollution.

One and a half hectares of Chenin were planted in 2012 (another 1.5 hectares were planted last year), but the reds are based on seriously old vines: Cabernet Franc (five hectares of vines averaging 45 years old), Cabernet Sauvignon (one hectare of 65-year-old vines) and the local hero Grolleau (two hectares at 60-90 years old). The grapes are all destemmed, and the cuvaison takes about 20-25 days. After 14 to 16 months of aging in foudres (two-thirds) and small barrels (one-third), the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Last year, Anne’s and Christian’s daughter Claire joined the Clau de Nell estate team; she is in charge of sales and marketing.”

Stephan Reinhardt, Wine Advocate (12/21)