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August 2016

Pierre Olivier Bonhomme Touraine Sauvignon Blanc


Vintage 2015

Pierre Olivier Bonhomme's Touraine Sauvignon Blanc is a wine that's near and dear to my heart!  Bonhomme's Touraine ranks in my all time list of best value natural wines.  Pierre Bonhomme started making this wine and many others in a partnership with Thierry Puzelat at his family's winery: Clos de Tue Boeuf.  Thierry's family has a long history of doing their own thing and preserving old wine making traditions and the wines were fantastic, but then Thierry's brother retired and he decided to devote himself exclusively to his family winery.  That allowed Pierre Oliver to fully take responsibility for carrying on the wines they had been making together.  

2015 is the second vintage that has been all Pierre Olivier.  I've heard from various people that the hot ripe vintage was kind of difficult for Sauvignon Blanc in the Loire because for whatever reason the grape seems to like taking it's time fermenting.  That's all well and good, but if it takes too long you run the risk of the wine losing it's acidity or picking up to many rich earthy or other flavors from the fermentation.  2015 is definitely different from the 2014 (richer and more lush) and also different from 2013 (less bitter and a bit softer and a touch more rs).  I love this vintage though and prefer it to the 2014, which I still have a few cases of squirreled away.  


Aroma: So this is wine made just from grapes.  No sugar, coloring, yeast, enzymes, or other junk added.  As a result the grapes probably spent a lot longer on the vine than most Loire Sauvingon Blancs in order to develop enough natural sugar.  That extra "hang time" that the grapes got means that they developed all kinds of flavors and aromas in addition to creating sugar.  I smell a mix of citrus fruit, tropical fruit, and also some sweet baked goods and herbal aromas.  Fresh squeezed orange juice and peach juice are the two strongest aromas I smell.  There's also a whiff of something that makes me think roasted fennel...and some vanilla bean too!

Taste: Bonhomme's Touraine is rich and kind of viscous on the palate.  It's a fuller bodied Sauvignon Blanc that has a lot of decidedly delicious cooked lemon flavors up front and then there's a bit of spicy Sauv Blanc leafiness.  The wine has a bit of sweetness to it, but like a good serious balanced Riesling you don't really notice it because it's so intertwined and restrained by the acidity and mineral that Bonhomme's Touraine has.  The flavors all linger on and evolve on your palate for easily 30 seconds after I've swallowed the wine.  This is such a unique Sauvignon Blanc that's delicious and redefines what people expect the grape to be.  

And it's only about $18!  For this beautiful unique hand made wild fermented Sauvignon Blanc.  You can pick some up at: the Blue Hill Wine Shop, Maine and Loire, Sawyer's Specialties, Vic and Whit's, and Aurora Provisions.

Agnes and Rene Mosse Magic of Juju


Agnes and Rene Mosse started out owning a wine bar in Tours but eventually decided to sell it and try to become wine makers.  Their professors at the local wine making program were legends like Thierry Puzelat and Christian Chaussard so they had a good foundation.  They bought a 20 acre domaine in 1999 from a retiring wine maker who had no heirs to take it over and immediately set about de-chemicalizing and revitalizing the land.  Over the years since, their drive and passion and attention to detail have brought them international attention and a reputation as some of the best natural wine makers in the central Loire, particularly of Chenin.  This is wine that really has a lot of love and hard work in it.  They’re a touchstone wine producer in the Loire and Devenish is so lucky to finally have these wines.

Aroma: there's so much here!  The Magic of Juju has a lot going on and smells like baking food and fresh fruit all at once.  I can smell sweet baked treats like macaroons, but there's also definitely.  I just don't know how the Mosses did this with Pineau de la Loire aka Muscadet.  It smells like the sweetest most delicious ripe white grapefruit ever.  Wait, now it smells like aromatic white flowers; there's so much happening here and it's so layered.  The magic of Juju is just insane and I'm kicking myself for not having bought more of it.  Sadly (or happily for them) the winery has sold out so that's it for this year.

Palate: So rich and lush, but it's not fat.  The Magic of Juju doesn't have to much glycerin or seem oily at all, and I'm not even drinking it as cold as it should be.  There's a hint of sweetness but the wine leads with more of a fresh delicious minerality.  There's even a prickliness from the acidity that gives the Magic of Juju an even more dynamic tension.

Really sadly, I only got 5 cases and 3 six packs of magnums.  I should have bought more, but now I've learned my lesson.  If you want to try to grab some Mosse Magic of Juju in Maine before it's gone try visiting Maine and Loire, the Blue Hill Wine Shop, Sawyer's Specialties, or Hugo's.