Nicolas Joly, 2019 Update

In my annual round of tastings it would be a shame to not stop off with the Loire Valley’s very own doyen of biodynamic viticulture, Nicolas Joly, proprietor of Château de la Roche aux Moines and current holder of the deeds to the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant. Having said that, in recent years I have often tasted with Nicolas Joly’s daughter, Virginie Joly, who today plays an increasingly significant role here.

Nicolas Joly & Clos de la Coulée de Serrant

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I don’t have anything new to report regarding life at the Château de la Roche aux Moines. The vineyards remain thoroughly biodynamic, managed by Nicolas, Virginie and a crack team of snail-eating sheep. The harvest incorporates a mix of clean and botrytis-affected fruit, the latter an important contributor to the style (to be fair, this is true, to some extent, across much of Anjou). The fruit is pressed and vinified in oak barrels, all old, with no new oak introduced here for nearly two decades. The wines all go through malolactic fermentation. Nicolas continues to assess the condition of the wine in the barrel by tapping with a tuning fork. He continues to worry about interference from electrical systems, wi-fi networks and orbiting satellites. Indeed, with so many malevolent forces working against Nicolas (pictured above) and family, it is a wonder any wine is made here at all.

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