Domaine Cady Coteaux du Layon St-Aubin 'Harmonie' 1997
From one trip down memory lane to another now. After cellaring the 1997 Delegat's Cabernet Sauvignon (a previous Weekend Wine) with uncertainty as to its future, this week I'm tasting and drinking another wine I have cellared for about the same length of time. In this case, however, it was not because I was unsure of where the wine was going, but rather because I was so impressed with this delicious example of Coteaux du Layon that I decided, after seeing off a few bottles in their youth, to see how one did with a little age on it. I remember purchasing this bottle off the shelf in Oddbins, in the days when there was a little more buzz about the range of wines therein than there is today. An interesting range of wines made Oddbins a merchant worth visiting regularly, and I must confess I got to know the staff in several of my local stores pretty well. It was at a time when Cady's wines seemed to be popping up everywhere, not just Oddbins but supermarkets too; they were often exceedingly inexpensive, and usually good. Although I can not remember the exact cost, I seem to recall this wine was less than £10 for 500ml, although I would be happy to be put straight by anyone with a better memory than mine. I picked up other cuvées from the same vintage - the 1997 Les Bruandières, for instance - for as little as £3.49. Great value.
It was only a few weeks before writing this that I drove past the rather smart looking Domaine Cady, near St-Aubin-de-Luigné, on a very grey and miserable day. Unfortunately, despite being in receipt of an open invitation to visit anytime, there simply weren't enough hours in the day for me to do so, as I already had a full schedule of appointments elsewhere. This was a real disappointment, as it would have been wonderful chance to get better acquainted with the wines of the domaine, and particularly the Cuvée Pierre Anatole, the flagship Coteaux du Layon cuvée. Never mind, I shall simply have to make do with this wine instead, the 1997 Domaine Cady Coteaux du Layon St-Aubin Cuvée Harmonie, which has a shimmering, deep, yellow-gold colour when poured, a vibrant hue which suggests this wine has much in store. Indeed it does; although the nose starts off dominated by a high-toned volatility which swamps all other aromas, there soon emerges notes of botrytis with apples and pears following behind, a charming, scented array which is less exuberant than I remember, but no less fine. The palate has a pure and well defined character, which builds in intensity through the midpalate as does the texture, starting off light-footed and elegantly delineated which fits with my mental picture of the wine from when I last tasted it, in 2002, but soon opening out to reveal a more plush, opulent and dense consistency. There are fleeting nuances of caramel, but it retains a freshness like the bite of a crisp apple which gives it a lot of appeal. Overall, this is a very complete, beautifully composed wine which has proved itself yet again to be fabulous drinking and also great value for money. This was my last bottle I am afraid, but I suppose that is all the more reason to visit Domaine Cady next time I am in the Loire. 17/20 (27/8/07)