Couly-Dutheil, 2020 Update
While some domaines in Chinon continue to fly under the radar, of interest only to Loire Valley anoraks, some have achieved a level of renown which goes far beyond the valley and us committed drinkers of Chinon. Couly-Dutheil is one such domaine, its reputation secured through the wines of the Clos de l’Echo, the vineyard which sits just behind the royal fortress that dominates the town. Couly-Dutheil own 17 hectares of vines here, although only a selection goes into the Clos de l’Echo cuvée, with an even tighter selection, from the small slope directly facing the north wall of the fortress, going into the Clos de l’Echo Crescendo cuvée.
There is, of course, a much broader range of cuvées made here besides the two wines which represent the Clos de l’Echo vineyard. Arnaud Couly (pictured above, in the Crescendo parcel of the Clos de l’Echo), in his role as head of Couly-Dutheil, probably owns more vineyards in the appellation than anyone else; the only likely contender that springs immediately to mind is Baudry-Dutour, Christophe Baudry and Jean-Martin Dutour having gathered together a portfolio of properties including the vineyards of Château de la Grille. I thought I knew the range of cuvées made here pretty well, with names such as Les Chanteaux, Les Gravières, Domaine René Couly, Baronnie Madeleine and Clos de l’Olive all being very familiar. So it was instructive, on this encounter, to meet some less familiar cuvées.