2021 Vincent Bergeron, Chenin Blanc “Maison Marchandelle” Vin de France, Loire Valley, France.
This is stunningly pure and generous Chenin, in the theme of Huet’s Vouvray and or Francois Chidaine’s cru Montlouis, with an almost white Burgundy class and grace, showing a beautiful array of white peach, lemon and melon fresh fruits, as well as a core of chalky, stony, and mineral driven elements, dried herbs, unsweetened honeycomb, yeasty lees, oyster shell and hazelnut. Even though labeled a Vin de France, this stuff is fabulously serious stuff that Loire Valley fans will want to get on it before Bergeron gets full discovered and takes on cult status. There’s a lot to love here, the mouth feel is full and vinous, but there is crisply dry detailing, vivid acidity and a saline quality that makes this wine excellent with a range of cuisine choices. Vincent Bergeron, based in Montlouis-sur-Loire, who came to wine later in life than many of his contemporaries is a rising star, who put his dues in working for old hands in the region and being mentored by a few vigorous that saw his passion and talents, to the point where they even gifted him a tractor and a small Pinot Noir vineyard to get started. He made his first commercial release in 2016, but his potential is off the charts, especially if he keeps making wines like this one! Vincent is well rounded and has, as his importer The Source notes, degrees in Art History, Literature, and Agriculture, had many different work experiences, including selling antiques, that was capped off by the viticultural mentorship of Jean-Daniel Kloeckle, Hervé Villemade, and Frantz Saumon.

The Maison Machandelle parcel, set on classic Tuffeau with sandy top soils and calcareous clay over the limestone with vines that are mature, all 50 plus years old and planted to Chenin Blanc exclusively, it is a wonderfully terroir influenced site that we’ll certainly be talking about for years to come. Vincent Bergeron’s vines are all hand tended, un-certified, but with organic and biodynamic methods, which helps these small yielding grape vines deliver amazing concentration, depth and complexity, as this vintage shows. Bergeron’s Pinot Noir is a lovely, spicy and old school effort that has created a lot of buzz too, but I first and foremost was spellbound by his Chenin Blanc, which hit me like a lightning strike! The 2021 vintage was cool in this region of the Loire and not all that giving, but this Maison Marchandelle really shines and proves the understated talents of this impressive vigneron, who was totally new to me until his brilliant Chenin, pale gold and crystalline, was in my glass. For Vincent, working with minimal sulfur and natural methods in the cellar is important to show off the vintage’s character and for his 2021 Maison Marchandelle Chenin Blanc he whole cluster pressed the grapes into mostly used neutral barrels where it went through a spontaneous indigenous yeast fermentation, slightly reductive, in cask. The wine then matured for 8 months on the lees in the oak, before being racked over to glass-fibre tanks to settle off the lees for about 4 months prior to being bottled unfined and unfiltered, all of which makes for a transparent and intriguing Chenin that should age nicely for another decade with ease.
($52 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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