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Domaine Pellé Menetou-Salon Morogues Blanc Les Carroir 2014

Domaine Pellé Menetou-Salon Morogues Blanc Les Carroir 2014

Loitering in an Angers restaurant a few years ago, on the hunt for dinner after a busy day of tasting at the Salon des Vins de Loire, I was approached by the familiar face of Paul-Henry Pellé. In his arms he cradled a bottle of (if I recall correctly – and there is no guarantee of this) his Vignes de Ratier cuvée. Well, to be more precise, and I am quite sure of this fact even though certainty regarding the precise identity of the cuvée escapes me, it was a magnum.

With barely a word of my native Franglais spoken, an almost silent contract was drawn up. I had a glass, devoid of contents, and I was clearly ready and willing. He had the wine, and plenty of it too. My glass was not devoid of contents for too long.

Taking a sniff, it showed some Sauvignon maturity, a little pea-poddy and asparagus-tinged perhaps, but expressive and talkative, after which the palate was a confident delight, modestly textured with a bright structure. While the aromatics spoke of some degree of maturity, the palate seemed youthful and full of drive. I thought it hailed from a much younger vintage than was actually the case, as it turned out to be a 2008 (my memory is quite clear on this also), which at the time was not too far off ten years of age. I was impressed.

From that point I promised myself I would follow Paul-Henry’s wines a little more closely, and maybe try to commit a bottle (or magnum) or two to my cellar.

Domaine Pellé Menetou-Salon Morogues Blanc Les Carroir 2014

And so to this weekend’s wine, the 2014 Carroir from Paul-Henry Pellé, from bottle rather than magnum (you can’t have everything I guess). It is at a similar stage at it’s life to that Angers wine, currently looking forward to its tenth birthday.

The portfolio chez Pellé opens with a handful of négoce and blended wines, but it is with the single-vineyard wines – the Vignes de Ratier and Le Carroir cuvées, among others – that things really begin to get interesting. Le Carroir was planted to both Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir by the late Henry Pellé, Paul-Henry’s father, back in 1976. Unusually, given the domaine’s location in Menetou-Salon, the soils are more flint than limestone or marl. The fruit from the 1.2 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc vines is fermented in a mix of cuves both stainless steel and wooden, as well as a number of oak barrels, with élevage in same, before bottling without filtration. I purchased this bottle on release, after which it has enjoyed six or seven years of rest before I pulled the cork this weekend.

In the glass the 2014 Menetou-Salon Morogues Le Carroir from Domaine Pellé displays a pale hue, looking as fresh as a daisy for all its time in bottle. It starts off with a touch of white pepper on the nose and, seemingly in a nod to the wine I drank in Angers all those years ago, notes of asparagus and snow pea, along with a subtle seam of peach leaf. Given time, though, these greener notes fade, leaving behind threads of citrus peel, apple skin and crushed chalk. Fresh and tartly composed, the flavours on the palate mirror the nose, with peppery mange tout giving way to more appealing citrus pith, green apple and chalk. It is the sinewy, salty, savoury character which underpins it all, showing juicy and acid-fresh, that really appeals though. After a somewhat wobbly start, this wine comes good, showing a fresh, savoury and peppery length. I suspect this has yet more potential and I wouldn’t be afraid to leave it in the cellar for a few more years yet. So don’t be surprised, given that I rarely cellar single bottles, if you see me pulling out another 2014 Le Carroir five, ten or maybe more years from now. The alcohol on the label, by the way, is 13%. 91/100 (10/4/23)

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