A Visit to Domaine Bernard Baudry, 2019

With gentle purpose Matthieu Baudry swung open the claret-red door to the cellars. Well, I say ‘claret-red’ but the truth is despite having visited the domaine numerous times I am only vaguely sure the door is red and not grey, or maybe even blue, which gives you an insight into just how unobservant I can be at times. Or, as I prefer to put it, “totally focused on the wines”. But I think it is red. So it might as well be claret red.

Despite carrying a pipette in one hand, a spit bucket in another, a couple of glasses in another (how many hands does this guy have?) Matthieu still managed to pick up a bottle of his 2018 Chinon Les Granges from a stack just inside the door. With yet another hand he seemed to produce, from thin air, a tire bouchon, and microseconds later the cork had been pulled and the wine, swirling and inky dark, was in my glass. Might as well stick my nose in and see what it’s like, I thought to myself. Sourced from sandy soils on the valley floor, this entry-level-bistro-drinker, the first red to be poured in any tasting chez Baudry, always gives a clue to the character of the vintage.

Oh… My… Word…

Of course that isn’t really what I said, just as I’m not really unsure of the colour of that door, and nor do I have any doubts about the number of hands Matthieu possesses (I will do a quick count to check next time, to be sure). It is just that the string of expletives I threw out, mostly in English but with a few French ones thrown in alongside as I didn’t want Matthieu to feel left out, would probably not make for interesting reading.

Bernard Baudry

The first clue, of course, was that inky dark hue. The second was the nose, where I expected to find a few notes of light fruit and floral perfume typical of Cabernet Franc from a lesser terroir, where the focus is on the fruit rather than the structure or the soil. Instead what I encountered were confit blackcurrants and sun-dried fruits, followed on the palate by olives and damsons, with an expression and intensity you just don’t expect to find in a wine from the sandy soils of the valley floor. And there was even a little structure here. I looked at Matthieu, but could not find any more words, dumbfounded by what I had just tasted.

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