Domaine de la Charmoise, 2019 Update

I can still recall my first ever encounter with a wine from Domaine de la Charmoise, an entirely serendipitous discovery on the shelves of a French caviste made many moons ago, long before I had even heard of Henry Marionnet or the slightly mysterious region known as the Sologne. It was a bottle of Les Cépages Oubliés, the vintage long forgotten, bought on the basis of an interesting blurb on the back label. At the time my French was fragile, more Franglais than anything approaching the language proper, but even I could figure out that this was a wine of interest. I had heard of Gamay de Bouze, the deeply coloured variety that may (or may not) be related to or derived from Gamay proper (more professionally known as Gamay Noir à Jus Blanc), but I had never before seen a wine made entirely from this variety.

Domaine de la Charmoise

On pulling the cork, the first thing that struck me was the concretion of potassium tartrate crystals that were adherent to it, all stained a deep purple-claret hue by the wine, which showed an equally confident level of pigmentation, shimmering a rich inky purple in the glass. And while the palate was brimming with fruit, it was also fresh and acid-bright. It was a memorable first encounter, and have never since shied away from an opportunity to taste or drink the wines of the Marionnet family. One of the most recent opportunities was at a Loire Valley Wine Dinner hosted by chef Tom Kitchin and Richard Bouglet from Scottish wine merchant L’Art du Vin. It was only the entry-level Gamay, but in the successful 2018 vintage, even that was a delight.

Meanwhile, in this report I look back to another recent encounter with the wines, tasted with Jean-Sébastien Marionnet (pictured above). I worked my way through eight wines, including the latest vintage of Les Cépages Oubliés.

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