Nicolas Joly, 2016 Update

Tasting the latest releases from Nicolas Joly is never going to be anything short of fascinating. I have encountered the man (or these days, increasingly his daughter, Virginie, pictured below) and his wines many times now, over many years. Each time I have learnt a little more about the wines, and come to comprehend them better than before. These are complex wines which, in my opinion, require a lot of consideration if you really want to understand what makes them tick.

Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

Picked ripe, often with a fairly significant proportion of botrytised fruit included in the mix (Nicolas prefers more, Virginie less, but to me any percentage greater than zero is ‘significant’) I think it is fair to say that the wines lead in the vinifications and the Joly family follow. Alcohol levels tend to be high, and thus the wines are dry but rich in botrytis flavour; I find noble rot delightful in the context of a sweet wine but I don’t think it helps in dry wines, certainly when it comes to their evolution in bottle. The acid-diminishing effects of the malolactic fermentation, bearing in mind the fruit was already picked ripe and rich, doesn’t help to enliven the structure on the palate either. It all makes for an unusual and distinctive style, and not one in which I have a great deal of confidence when it comes to the cellar.

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