Damien Laureau, 2014 Update

In the pantheon of Savennières styles, I have to confess I often find more joy in the wines of the modernists, such as Damien Laureau, than I do in the traditionalists. I have, over the years, happily drunk both styles of wine, and I admire the tendency exhibited by the traditional wines to quietly amble towards maturity, slowly evolving but never really letting down their guard of lean and steely austerity. They are upright, rather aloof and perhaps even a little aristocratic at times. No wonder these estates, which include (in my own personal wine world) Château d’Epiré and Domaine aux Moines, among others, have found many fans.

Damien Laureau

My own preference, however, is for the more modern style. Here growers extract a little more flesh from the fruit, making the wines more approachable, and they may be polished off with an oak barrel or two as well, giving a very different wine to the traditional style which is often born in giant cuves of cement or old, inert oak. These more modern wines are not huge, fudgy, oak-smothered confections though; at their best the texture and polish still allows the schistous minerality and bright acidity of the fruit to shine through. When I speak of this style several growers spring immediately to mind. One is Thibaud Boudignon, a rising star in the appellation. Another is Eric Morgat, who has reined in his use of oak in recent years, and now makes a much more convincing, minerally style. The third is perhaps the leading grower in the entire appellation, Damien Laureau.

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