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Domaine de la Butte Bourgueil Perrières 2011

Domaine de la Butte Bourgueil Perrières 2011

If you have a sudden sense of déjà vu, please accept my apologies, because I suspect it may be my fault. Yes, this is the second week running that my Weekend Wine – usually a Monday morning update (I guess that much is implied by ‘weekend’) – has been shifted back to Wednesday. The reason? I have just had another long weekend of tasting in France, three days (French weekends run from Sunday until Tuesday, honest) immersed in the wines of the Loire Valley. This time I was not in Angers at the Salon des Vins de Loire, but at a new salon called Vinovision, in the Porte de Versailles.

Although Vinovision catered for all France’s cool climate regions it was definitely dominated by vignerons from the Loire Valley. I would estimate well over three-quarters were from that region, a ‘guess’ based simply on how the Loire exhibitors dominated the hall, the other regions stretched around their peripheries. Ensconced in one corner was Montlouis stalwart Jacky Blot, accompanied as ever by his regular team, including son Jean-Philippe. I was able to taste through all Jacky’s wines from Montlouis, including some older vintages (2009, 2008 and 2007 as it happens) followed by the most recent vintages from Domaine de la Butte, with again a few older vintages here.

Domaine de la Butte Bourgueil Perrières 2011

Most of this domaine’s wines come from the slope of La Butte, but Jacky also has a small morsel of Perrières, one of Bourgueil’s most acclaimed vineyards. Jacky and Jean-Philippe can demonstrate exactly where their vines are not only with the aid of maps but also with low-level photographs taken by drones. which show more clearly not only the shape of each parcel but also the topography of the land. Perrières is essentially a continuation of the vines of La Butte, running around top of the slope hugging the trees and heading up into La Vallée du Changeon, shifting from south- to east-facing. Of course this makes perfect sense; Bourgueil from the lower sand and gravel terraces may give us some charming wines, but all the best wines – the structured, tannin-rich, acid-rich, substantial wines destined for the cellar rather than the table – come from these higher limestone terroirs.

It is far too young to be broaching such wines from the 2011 vintage (which was tip-top for reds in Anjou and Touraine) for drinking, but it’s my job to look at wines when they have potential, not once they are completely ready to drink, and I am just as happy doing that from my cellar as well as at a tasting with Jacky and Jean-Philippe. The 2011 Bourgueil Perrières from Domaine de la Butte has a dark, glossy and fairly intense central hue which seems appropriate for the vintage. The nose is restrained and dark, filled with notes of soot, dried juniper berry, dried blackcurrant and charcoal. In contrast the palate feels fresh, very bright and tense, the fruit washed with an elegant red cherry and redcurrant acidity, which does ride quite prominently into the finish, ahead of a light fruit texture and medium body, and also ahead of the ripe but rather pointed tannins. This is an attractive wine which should develop nicely over the next five or ten years, although I am not at all sure it will make old bones beyond that. 16/20 (15/2/17)

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