Bernard Baudry Chinon La Croix Boisée 2009
Something seems to have lit a Chinon fire within me. Maybe it's a sudden remembering that these wines offer huge value and pleasure, and in a great vintage - such as 2009 - have cellar potential aplenty and will develop complexity and unforeseen nuances as they age. Maybe, in the face of expensive Bordeaux - the 2012s are being released at lower prices in many (but certainly not all) cases, but one wouldn't exactly refer to them as 'cheap' - it was a need to taste something that was packed to the brim with quality, ripe tannin, sweet fruit and full potential, but which didn't require the sale of an essential organ in order to buy a bottle, or even a case.
In such a hunt, why not look to Bernard Baudry? When I pulled the 2009 Coteau de Noiré from Philippe Alliet two weeks ago, it was more by chance than anything. This time I went on a specific hunt. It was rather a short hunt; Mathieu and Bernard Baudry have used rather fatter, heavier bottled for recent vintages of La Croix Boisée. This might not be environmentally friendly, but it does mean that as they don't fit in my rather tight racks, and are stacked high on top, they are rather easy to locate when one is required.
The Baudry residence is located on the D21, which runs east out of Chinon, along the boundary between the limestone slope to the north, and the more gravelly lands along the river to the south. You have to drive past the Coteau de Noiré (which is in the commune of Chinon) to get here in fact. We are now in the commune of Cravant-les-Coteaux, where some of the appellation's greatest vineyards can be found. Up on the slope are the vines of the Clos du Chêne Vert of Domaine Charles Joguet, for instance. Continue on past the Baudry domaine, and through Cravant-les-Coteaux itself, and on the far side lies La Croix Boisée, just below the Bois d'Arçon, one of the many little islands of woodland that remain here, remnants of the great forest that once covered these lands and which provided such good hunting for the French château-building nobility. The terroir here is limestone, this soil type engendering a fine structure within the wines, and setting them up very nicely for the cellar. Combine it with a superb vintage such as 2009, and you have a recipe for great success.
The 2009 La Croix Boisée from Bernard Baudry is simply fabulous, and shows not only the skill and talent of the Baudry family, but the quality and grandeur of the vintage. The colour is dark, with a very dense crimson-black hue, fading out to a red-crimson rim. Aromatically the ripeness of the fruit comes through, with black cherry liqueur, laced with black pepper, rose petals and other floral nuances. It is still rich and sweet in terms of fruit, but not jammy. The palate shows an immediate texture on the palate, but it remains taut, intensely structured, with great minerally substance running though the core of the wine. The fruit is wonderful, bright and with grip underneath, ripe and well hidden tannins, and a long, taut, acid-tinged finish. The overall effect is extraordinarily convincing. A superb wine, disconcertingly delicious now, but set for years - perhaps decades - to come. 18.5/20 (6/5/13)