Domaine Ogereau Savennières L’Enthousiasme 2015
The Savennières appellation continues to evolve in new and exciting ways, and in the past couple of years the most interesting developments have largely been the result of a change in the generations. The shift in responsibility from Monique to Tessa Laroche at Domaine aux Moines, for example, has resulted in a style and quality facelift that I could never have imagined and, if you had foretold it, I would never have believed you. And here at Domaine Ogereau we have another example of a handover from one generation to the next, although as Vincent Ogereau always ran a tight ship, turning out top examples from a variety of Anjou appellations, I don’t think we will see such a dramatic shift in quality with the arrival of his son Emmanuel Ogereau. Domaine aux Moines has undergone a revolution. Here at Domaine Ogereau, it is more of a gradual evolution, building on the quality of what has already been achieved.
Vincent Ogereau first began working with some rented vines in the Savennières appellation back in 2002, although in 2005 he, together with Claude Papin of Château Pierre-Bise and Yves Guégniard of Domaine de la Bergerie took on the vines of the Clos le Grand Beaupréau. This was a vineyard owned by Baron Brincard at least part of which was, up until 2004, rented out to Pierre Soulez, from the same Soulez family long associated with Château de Chamboureau and Domaine de Bizolière. Vincent and Emmanuel have 2 hectares which they rent, while Claude Papin rents 2.5 hectares, and Yves Guégniard purchased his 1.6 hectares. And thus for many years the principal Ogereau cuvée from this appellation was the Clos le Grand Beaupréau. It was with the arrival of Emmanuel that this would change.
The Ogereau vines are planted on two distinct terroirs, sandstone and schist; Emmanuel thought the fruit from the sandstone terroir was of exceptionally good quality in 2014, so after picking he kept the wine separate through the vinification. He pressed it in whole bunches and separated the juices, fermenting it in just two 400-litre old oak barrels (so it should go without saying that the volume made here is very limited), and he then aged the wine on its lees with no racking. He did the same in 2015, at that time still unsure whether or not this was a new cuvée or merely an experiment that was destined to be blended back into the Clos le Grand Beaupréau cuvée. Eventually he decided it was to go it alone, but it didn’t have a name. It was when he poured it at a combined wine and poetry event (yes, it’s a new one on me, too), and one of the poets on stage expressed her ardent enthusiasm for the wine that the cuvée L’Enthousiasme was born.
The first thing that cannot go unmentioned is that this cuvée is sealed with a Vino-Lok closure, so it will be interesting to see how this wine develops over the next decade or so. One thing seems certain though, there is guaranteed protection against cork taint here. In the glass the 2015 Savennières L’Enthousiasme from Domaine Ogereau displays a very pale and shimmering character, fresh and pure, and I suppose we can expect it to stay that way. The aromatics reveal a very matchsticky and reductive character, with smoky and sandy minerals laid over a bed of dried mirabelle plum skins and a touch of appealingly bitter citrus zest. The palate shows a succulent but elegantly refrained character, with bitter citrus elements set against a backbone of rather dramatic acidity for the 2015 vintage. As an aside, rumour has it vignerons from all over Anjou have been knocking on the door chez Ogereau trying to find out how Emmanuel preserved such a wonderful acid structure in a vintage such as 2015. I don’t know what his answers were, but I wonder if Emmanuel’s striving for a style entirely free of botrytis influence (which is rarer in Anjou than you might think, even in dry wines) plays a part, either through influencing the timing of picking, or in removing any effect botrytis infection may have on acidity in the fermenting must. But these are just my hypotheses. The middle and finish of the wine feels lightly pithy but also substantial, with a sour citrus-driven character in the finish. A fine style, I suspect with real potential for development here, and I am looking forward to finding out whether or not this is the case. 93/100 (14/5/18)
Read more in:
- My detailed profile of Domaine Ogereau
- A report on a Visit and Tasting at Domaine Ogereau
- My report on the Loire 2015 vintage
- My guide to Chenin Blanc