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La Ferme de la Sansonnière Anjou Blanc La Lune 2005

La Ferme de la Sansonnière Anjou Blanc La Lune 2005

Reaching into the darkest recesses of a cellar bin I pulled out last week’s serendipitously discovered weekend wine, the 2005 Anjou Blanc Les Noëls de Montbenault from Richard Leroy. Bringing the bottle into the light I had an Indiana Jones moment; I thought I had drunk up all of Richard’s wines from this vintage long ago, so in pulling a 2005 out of the darkness by pure chance I imagined I felt like Indiana did when he finally laid his hands on that golden idol, in the depths of a long-lost Peruvian temple. Of course, I didn’t have to brush tarantulas from my back on my way in, or avoid a multitude of perilous booby traps on the way out, but let’s not allow ourselves to be sidetracked by these minor details, shall we?

The truth is, however, going back to my cellar records I did later realise I still had note of the several bottles of the 2005 Les Noëls de Montbenault (and 2005 Clos des Rouliers as well) in my cellar, so the ‘loss’ of these bottles was more a case of oversight on my part. This is certainly not true of this weekend’s bottle though, the 2005 Anjou Blanc La Lune from Mark Angeli at La Ferme de la Sansonnière. These bottles were struck from my cellar records many years ago so, when I pulled this out immediately after Richard’s wine, this really was the chance discovery of a true cellar orphan. As I held the long-lost bottle in my hand I stared at the label with a mix of delight and trepidation. Was I looking forward to pulling the cork? Yes. Was I confident as to the drinkability of the contents? Not entirely, no.

La Ferme de la Sansonnière Anjou Blanc La Lune 2005

Why such lack of confidence? Well, Mark Angeli has developed an interesting philosophy regarding sulphites over the years, and along the way he did go through a zero-sulphite period. Some of the wines from this era did not fair well, turning oxidised and brown within a decade. In later years Mark turned to using sulphites again, but taking them from a volcanic rather than an industrial origin. Whether one is any better than the other is up for debate, but at least the wines went into the bottle with some protection. The problem was, I wasn’t immediately sure where 2005 sat in this timeline. Of course if I had been wearing my glasses I would have seen, as eagle-eyed readers may have already noticed, the customary sulphite data Mark includes at the foot of the label; the 2005 vintage has 42 mg/l of sulphur dioxide, with any sulphites added being of volcanic origin.

As it turns out, proving the fallibility of my memory as well as my eyes (because I have enjoyed one or two bottles of this in the past), the 2005 Anjou Blanc La Lune from La Ferme de la Sansonnière is also protected by a hearty concentration of residual sugar. In the glass it has a confident, shimmering, burnished gold hue. The nose is heavily scented with the aromas of dried apples and ginger, with black tea leaf and a fresh, herbal complexity, all intensified by a slightly roasted richness to the fruit. The palate feels wonderfully seamless and silky, underpinned by a pithy and grippy substance, but with a svelte integration, and it carries all the aromatic complexities seen on the nose. It has great structure and energy, showing fresh and bright, with a long, bitter, nicely poised and bright acid core to it. Most importantly there is that undeniable central core of residual sugar, I would estimate well into the demi-sec arena (maybe even a little higher), which has no doubt helped to keep this ticking along, allowing that wonderful complexity to evolve. Well done; if only all such serendipitous discoveries could be so reminiscent of Indiana’s golden idol. 95/100 (30/3/20)

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