Dom. de Montcy Cheverny Cuvée Louis de la Saussaye 2008
Frightening though the thought may be, December is nearly upon us. I guess this may mean different things to different people, but for many of us there is the thought of celebrations ahead, festivities more often than not fuelled with a little wine. Or perhaps a lot of wine. And then, a week or so later, the year will grind to an end, and 2016 will suddenly burst into life. I have done my research over the years and concluded that this turning over of one page of the calendar to the next also pairs very well with all manner of wines.
When it comes to festive wine drinking it is all too easy to get stuck in a rut. This is entirely understandable. We eat the same foods year after year, and I suspect many wine drinkers end up falling at the knees of the same old wine gods. Smoked salmon on Christmas Day? Better get the white Burgundy up from the cellar (better get several in fact, as the first few will probably be prem-oxed). Roast goose, roast turkey, or a Medieval ten-bird roast? Better head for the Bordeaux racks, then, for something from the left bank, or maybe back to the Côte d’Or again? And a New Year’s Eve tipple? Well, who isn’t already subconsciously mouthing the word ‘Champagne’?
These are all fairly predictable choices, and they surely don’t apply to everyone. And in fact I’m pretty certain they don’t apply to all Winedoctor readers, who are naturally a more discerning and inquisitive lot. Come on, admit it. The last wine question you asked yourself wasn’t anything to do with Burgundy, Bordeaux or Champagne, but was probably “which wines from Cheverny should we be popping the corks on during the run up to Christmas?” quickly followed up with “and which is the best Cour-Cheverny to accompany my roasted platypus with tribble and royal jelly stuffing on Christmas Day?”
If you’re thinking my pre-empting of your Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny questions is evidence of my clairvoyant abilities, I must confess the truth is much more mundane. I’ve been writing Winedoctor for fifteen years now, and over this time I have learnt of the desires many readers have for a good glass of Cheverny at this time of year. And so I proudly declare this week to be Cheverny Week*, a full week (well, five days) of Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny notes, tasting reports and profiles. I am kicking off today with this wine, from Domaine de Montcy.
One of the reasons red Cheverny appeals is the complexity that can be found in the assemblage; as with all the world’s best wines, it is an appellation founded upon blending two or more varieties together, in this case Gamay and Pinot Noir are the principle varieties, while Côt and Cabernet Franc are secondary blenders. Having said that in truth just about anything goes; there are regulations of course, but I have come across more than a handful of cuvées that seem to flout them entirely, including some that are hugely dominated by Côt, and some that are 100% Pinot Noir. When it is a blend of all four (which happens now and again), this makes it the perfect wine for festive dinners. After all, in a meal with so many competing aromas and flavours, from the richness of a roasted game bird to the tartness of cranberry sauce, matching one wine with all these foods can be impossible. So Cheverny is the obvious solution – because you can have up to four wines in every glass!
Domaine de Montcy is undoubtedly one of the more interesting names I have come across in Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny. The vineyards have been run according to organic methods by Laura Semeria since she acquired the estate in 2006. The Cheverny Cuvée Louis de la Saussaye, usually a blend of 60% Pinot Noir, 25% Côt and 15% Gamay, is one of her top red cuvées. In the glass the 2008 has a very fresh and bright hue, with no real hint of age. It offers up a blast of cooked strawberry at first, which quickly passes, and thereafter the fruit shows a darker vein, with macerated cherry, alongside a little note of chestnut mushroom and oiled oak. There follows a really appealing palate, with fresher red fruits than the nose suggested, redcurrant and even a little pomegranate alongside the cherry here, with strident acidity through the middle, cutting trough the finish as a scythe cuts through butter. Overall it is fresh, bright, with an acid-framed palate, quite long and appealing though. There are some touches of perfumed violets, from the Côt I am sure, and a ripe core of velvety tannin. This is a wine with plenty of potential for good development yet I think. It should be perfect with roasted platypus. 16/20 (30/11/15)
*includes Cour-Cheverny, naturally