Damien Laureau, 2016 Update

Damien Laureau is a fine example of why you have to follow your own palate. In Savennières, to my palate Damien makes some of the most exciting, pure and defined wines I have experienced. His wines are certainly in the modern style, being in part influenced by oak (although fibreglass also has a large role to play here), with élevage on the lees, although without bâtonnage. The wines may go through malolactic fermentation, indeed I think Damien was one of the earliest adherents to this methodology in the appellation.

Damien Laureau

None of this really makes Damien Laureau (pictured above) stand out from the crowd; after all, there isn’t a single practice alluded to above that somebody else isn’t also doing. On tasting the wines, however, I am soon reminded that he really does stand out from the crowd, and that I consider him to be the crème de la crème of Savennières, on the top tier alongside the likes of Eric Morgat and Claude Papin. The purity, the freshness, the depth, the texture, the energy and the minerality, these are superb examples of the appellation. The Roche-aux-Moines cuvée in particular is one of the most striking wines in the entire Loire Valley. These are – coming back to my original point of following our own palates – far superior to much more expensive wines often touted as the ‘best’ in the three Savennières appellations. Well, that’s my (palate’s) take on it, anyway.

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