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Checking in on . . . . Clos du Papillon 2002

The 2002 vintage was a very interesting one in the Loire Valley, especially for white wines made from Chenin Blanc, both in Anjou and Vouvray. The wines continue to do very well; so much so that even in the past couple of weeks I have added more 2002s to my cellar, including wines from Domaine de Bellivière, Domaine des Aubuisières and Jo Pithon (in his first incarnation, before he set up Pithon-Paillé with step-son Jo Paillé).

I thought it might be useful to look back at one or two of these wines to see how they are doing, especially so if I have more than a few bottles. The 2002 Clos du Papillon from Domaine des Baumard is a case in point; I bought a case many years ago now, and this is (I think) bottle number three. One of the first few bottles were troublesome though; off the top of my head I seem to recall one had a very curious and not entirely pleasant ash-like quality to it.

Domaine des Baumard Savennières Clos du Papillon 2002

Happily, on this recent assessment, things seem very different.

Domaine des Baumard Savennières Clos du Papillon 2002: A pale golden hue in the glass, certainly nothing out of the ordinary for a Savennières of this age. A great nose, fresh, expressive and clean; I recall a few years ago this had a curious ash-like note on the nose, but there is certainly nothing like that now. In truth, the nose is really delightful, bright, minerally although soft and charming – surprisingly so – rather than firm. There follows a supple palate, broad, quite polished and harmonious, with some great grip and fresh acidity. Very lovely, balanced and correct with lively substance rather than huge tension, but so much appeal here, all gathering together towards the finish in a long, tingling, confident and savoury grip. Very impressive. 18/20 (August 2014)

On a personal level, I’m happy to see that strange ashy note gone. Was it a phase the wine went through, or was there just something wrong with a previous bottle? On a broader level, it’s good to see this wine singing; I have heard some claims of ‘prem-ox’ in Baumard wines (this bottle comes from before his whole-scale switch to screw-cap, by the way, a shift he made in 2006 with the release of wines from the 2003 and 2004 vintages). I certainly don’t see any oxidation here. On the basis of this tasting I don’t feel there is any rush with the rest of the case.

3 Responses to “Checking in on . . . . Clos du Papillon 2002”

  1. I love old wines, if I get a chance then I will definitely taste 2002 Clos du Papillon.

  2. Inspired by your tasting of the “Clos du Papillon 2002”, i opened one of my last remainig bottles of Clos Naudin 2003 “Les Perruches”. Although 2003 was marked by high temperatures and (for some regions) overripe wines, this one had a lot of acidity to counter-balance residual the sugar levels. The aroma reminded me of apple-cider. I find it still has some years to go. The few remaining bottles ( and a ‘Moilleux’) will be enjoyed over the next years. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Thanks Raf for that note. Philippe Foreau favours structure and acidity in his Vouvrays, so if anyone could find the acidity in that vintage it would probably be him. His Moelleux cuvées in 2003 are stunning, especially the Réserve, last tasted with Philippe in his cellar just a few weeks ago.