Domaine Cady Résilience 2020
Readers with decent memories (don’t worry if that doesn’t include you – I am not sure I would count this as one of my attributes either) will remember the sequence of tragedies that were visited upon Alexandre Cady and family this year. First came a devastating fire, on April 1st this year, which destroyed the main cellars, equipment, some of the family’s current stock and some older vintages, leaving the family with little wine to sell, and no facilities with which to make the 2021 vintage.
Hot on the heels of this disaster came the spring frosts, which were particularly bad this year, across all France. The predictions for the 2021 grape harvest from the French ministry for agriculture are catastrophically low, worse than 2017 and even 1991, two other years in which frost visited many French wine regions. Indeed, you have to look right back to the 1970s, to the tiny 1977 and 1970 harvests, to find a comparable level of damage. The Cady vineyards, along the banks of the Layon in the Coteaux du Layon and Coteaux du Layon Chaume vineyards, were as badly hit as any others.
The Cady family have had a presence in the Layon Valley for hundreds of years, with records making mention of the name in the region as early as the late-17th century. It was in 1927 that a Cady first settled in Saint-Aubin-de-Luigné, today one of the six villages of the Coteaux du Layon appellation. The domaine grew and was passed down from father to son, coming to Philippe Cady, who has very recently retired, and then to Alexandre. It is without a doubt one of the best addresses along the banks of the Layon; while the dry wines are good, I have often had cause to swoon over the sweet wines, especially those at the very top end, in particular the superb Cuvée Volupté.
It is testament to the family’s long presence in the region, their significance too (Alexandre is president of the Coteaux du Layon Chaume appellation), but also the sense of generosity, camaraderie and solidarity among vignerons that even in a year of miniscule harvest predictions Alexandre’s peers rallied around to help the family. Before long Alexandre was on the receiving end of barrels and vats of freshly fermented dry Chenin Blanc from the 2020 vintage; the end result is this one-off Vin de France blend of Anjou Chenin named, appropriately enough, Résilience.
The 2020 Résilience from Domaine Cady has a pale straw-coloured hue in the glass, and a very fresh nose filled with charming Chenin fruit with light suggestions of bitterness. These are intertwined with notes of citrus peel, yellow peach, apricot stone, acacia, rose petals and a touch of blanched almond. The palate follows the same script, showing a cool and gentle concentration with delicately bitter fruits, sweet pear and perfumed citrus with a floral frame and a slightly dusty edge. This comes wrapped up in a rather modest texture, leading into a short finish with some charming floral character. Overall this is an attractive wine, although in a light and rather nervous style rather than the somewhat richer character I would usually think of coming out of the Cady cellars, a finding which no doubt reflects its distinctive origins. But it is a real pleasure to drink, and I suspect it will develop in bottle over a few years. 90/100 (6/9/21)
Read more in:
- My guide to the wines of all Anjou
- A detailed profile of Domaine Cady
- My guide to Chenin Blanc in the Loire Valley