Nicolas Joly, 2014 Update

Like any other region, the Loire Valley has its smattering of truly great vineyard sites, where geology, topography and mesoclimate all conspire to give those vignerons fortunate enough to own or rent some of this land the potential to grow and harvest some of the highest quality fruit imaginable. We could probably all name our favourite examples; Les Monts Damnés in Chavignol, in Sancerre, or the Clos du Bourg in Vouvray, perhaps. Some might perhaps opt for the Clos des Briords instead, where Marc Ollivier makes exacting examples of Muscadet in the classic style, without recourse to long-lees aging or other cru communal-type manipulations.

Embedded in the vineyards around Savennières we have another example. Although this is an appellation with many attractive south-facing vineyards of sandy soils over schist, none can match the Coulée de Serrant for the wonderfully broad vista over the waters of the Loire that it affords the visitor, and the corresponding sun-bathed aspect that the vines enjoy. This vineyard should, above all others, be yielding the greatest wines of the Savennières zone, greater than even those of the rather broader Savennières Roche-aux-Moines appellation.

Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

The vineyard is a monopole, in the sole possession of Nicolas Joly and his family. As far as I know Nicolas has two children, a son and a daughter. It is the daughter, Virginie Joly (pictured above), who seems to have taken on a role in the running of the domaine. I meet up with Virginie at least once a year to taste the latest releases, but in 2014 (as in 2013) we met up twice; the first time, in Angers in February 2014, I looked at the three wines from the 2012 vintage, as would be expected. As a bonus I also met with Virginie in London in May 2014, giving me a chance to revisit one of the wines previously tasted, but also to revisit a couple of wines from 2010 and 2009.

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