Moulin Touchais Retrospective, 2018
The origins of Moulin Touchais lie in the late-18th century, although it was another two hundred years (or so before Joseph Touchais began, somewhat inadvertently, to cultivate the domaine’s modern-day reputation. It was, you see, Joseph who began to lay down sweet wines in order to sell them later, with a year or two of bottle age. The reason Joseph chose this path is one regular readers will be familiar with, as it is not a unique story in the history of Ligérian wine.
Struggling to sell his Coteaux du Layon in the mid-20th century, as fashion and tastes turned away from sweet wines towards drier styles, rather than cease production Joseph Touchais resigned himself to keeping the bottles as they matured, and selling them as he could. This practice eventually developed into a routine period of ten year’s aging in bottle at the estate. The combination of bottle age and competitive pricing meant that the wines sold, but still at a relatively slow pace. Thus older vintages would remain available for purchase for many decades after the vintage had long passed. And some vintages, those deemed not quite ready at ten years of age, would be kept back for even longer. As a consequence, Moulin Touchais developed a very fine reputation for its sweet wines, and these wines undoubtedly have a place in the hearts and cellars of many drinkers with a leaning towards the sweet wines of the Loire Valley.
Having said that, while I do not dispute the quality and the value, Coteaux du Layon from Moulin Touchais tends to have a rather old-school style. Given that the lag between harvest and the wine coming onto the market is at least ten years, sometimes much longer, perhaps this is inevitable. These are not modern wines. They tend not to show the concentration, texture, minerality and confident botrytis-driven character we see today in the wines coming out of the cellars of Château Pierre-Bise, Domaine Ogereau, Domaine de la Bergerie, Patrick Baudouin or Philippe Delesvaux, to name a handful of examples. These are leaner, tauter efforts, wines which remain true to the Coteaux du Layon, albeit a 1970s or 1980s version of the appellation.Please log in to continue reading: