Domaine du Closel, 2021 Update
A lifetime has passed since I last met up with Evelyne de Jessey-Pontbriand, the driving force behind Domaine du Closel and surely the modern-day doyenne of the entire Savennières appellation. Well, alright, it is actually just a little over two years since I called in at the domaine, when Evelyne and I ascended the steep steps from her garden up to the plateau and vineyards above the town, but that’s Covid-19 for you. I can’t be the only one who looks back on the travel and tastings I did pre-pandemic as if they were events in a different age, perhaps even lived by somebody else.
So it was a joy to meet up with Evelyne again recently, this time not in Savennières, but in Paris (which is where I took the picture below, with Evelyne proudly sporting her #fandechenin badge). I pulled up my chair (an entirely metaphorical statement – this was a standing only tasting) and held out my glass (nothing metaphorical here). It was good to be tasting with another human being once again, especially one so intelligent and witty as Evelyne. She also makes some very good wines, of course, which helps.
With a lot of new subscribers having signed up over the last year, I am aware that some readers may not be familiar with Savennières or Domaine du Closel, so first a quick recap. In simple terms you can carve up the Savennières appellation into the grandes dames, seventeen historic châteaux which can trace their histories as far back as the 15th century in some cases. Of these about one-third still have some sort of role in the region’s wine, most notably Domaine aux Moines, Château de la Roche-aux-Moines and Château d’Epiré.