Domaine des Baumard Quarts de Chaume 2004
For some time now I have had my last remaining bottle of the 1980 Quarts de Chaume from Domaine des Baumard lined up for my Weekend Wine feature, but simply haven't managed to get around to it yet. There are always too many bottles stacked up in the tasting pile, and so for the moment that bottle continues its slumber in my cellar. Following my recent visit to the Loire, though, I added to my stock of Baumard's Quarts de Chaume - which is otherwise rather strong on the fabulous 2001 vintage - with some bottles of the opulent 2003, and the more nervy, elegant 2004. And it seemed so much more appropriate to taste one of these latter bottles, firstly because I have half a case, and secondly because it might be of more interest to those who follow the wines of this domaine, as it is currently available on the market (unlike the 1980). My Weekend Wine has never been about promoting wines currently available over obscure old bottles from my cellar - so I will probably bring that sole survivor of the 1980 vintage (there doesn't appear to be a retailer in the entire world listing this wine) out for tasting some time in the future - but now it seems appropriate to look at the 2004 vintage in preference.
The 2004, then, has a very pale hue compared to some other vintages of Baumard's Quarts de Chaumes, no doubt a reflection of the year; the 2001 and 2003 have a much richer hue. It kicks off with a vibrant nose, fresh and vivacious in character, with appealing leafy and greengage edges alongside a vanilla cream richness. On the palate it is very pure, lifted, with a tingling, exhilarating presence on the palate, almost as if there is a little residual carbon dioxide here, such is its vibrant freshness. It is pure, with a laserlike definition, and obvious vibrancy. On entry it is rather suggestive of the Mosel (!), an effect of the wines lightness and delicacy, but this parallel can only be drawn as far as the midpalate. Here, out from underneath the ripe but precise pear, melon and citrus fruit character comes a very subtly honeyed texture which brings you back to the Loire. It is gentle, slightly pithy and textured towards the finish, certainly with plenty of substance, but always seeming quite pure and slightly detached, yet really quite charming on the palate. Overall this is simply delightful, a very different style to the 2001 which was honeyed and rich with caramel texture and tones. But this has a much gentler finish, but with great purity and length, and it will age beautifully I am sure - although it gives so much pleasure now too. 18+/20 (10/9/07)