Nicolas Joly, 2013 Update

Which is the most famous domaine in the Loire Valley? One of the great domaines of Vouvray, maybe, such as Domaine Huet? Or, more likely perhaps, one of the big names of Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé; Vacheron, Alphonse Mellot and Château de Tracy to name just three all have their followings, although here Domaine Didier Dagueneau probably wines hands down. Domaine des Baumard would be another contender, the domaine having long ago ‘cracked’ the American market, frequently cropping up in Wine Spectator reports.

Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

I suspect, however, that Nicolas Joly probably trumps them all. Since returning to France from the USA to take control of the Château de la Roche aux Moines (not to be confused with the Domaine dux Moines, which is located almost next-door, and which is home to Monique and Tessa Laroche) in 1977 he has catapulted this previously unknown family domaine into the international spotlight. The reason, of course, is biodynamics; Nicolas Joly introduced the methods on his vineyards in the early 1980s, and was fully certified as biodynamic in 1985.

I don’t intend to repeat the full story of Nicolas Joly and the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant here; my profile of Nicolas Joly and his domaine gives all the gory details. The question I mean to deal with here is – of relevance to the punter ready to hand over his or her cash – are the wines simply any good? The work in the vineyard is fastidiously biodynamic but, despite the evident truth of the statement that great wine is made in the vineyard, there is more to wine than what happens among the vines. There are picking decisions to be taken, selections to be made, fermentations to oversee and sulphur dioxide to be added, or not, as the case may be. And for me it is this side of the work on this domaine, more than that in the vineyard, that has been the issue with Joly’s wines in recent decades.

Please log in to continue reading:

Subscribe Here / Lost Password