Couly-Dutheil, 2021 Update
As proprietor of what is surely the most famous domaine in the entire Chinon appellation, Arnaud Couly holds sway over a large slice of the town’s vineyards. The last time I checked he vinified fruit from more than 90 hectares; to put that into context it is larger than just about any cru classé property in Bordeaux. The domaine is also one of the appellation’s longest established, with a history dating back to Baptiste Dutheil (born 1880). Of course the Clos de l’Echo, the estate’s flagship vineyard, has a much longer history, even if it has not always been planted with vines.
It is also a domaine with which I have some personal history, as I called into the Couly-Dutheil tasting room (not the one in use today, but a much smaller one, right at the foot of the clos) during my first ever tour along the vineyards of the Loire Valley, back in 1993. That was when I first tasted (and bought) the 1989 Clos de l’Echo, and I have been following the domaine – somewhat sporadically at times, I admit – ever since. In recent years it has been a joy to revisit and retaste here with some regularity, although Covid-19 has naturally made visiting difficult. By difficult, I mean impossible. For a while at least.
Happily, Arnaud recently sent me four samples of forthcoming releases, including the latest vintages of Clos de l’Echo and Clos de l’Olive, note to mention an intriguing new cuvée named Pur Sans.