Three questions with…Evelyne de Pontbriand of Domaine du Closel

On the sidelines of her NY distributor’s recent tasting, I grabbed a quick three minutes with the supremely lovely Evelyne de Pontbriand. She is the third consecutive woman in her family to run the estate Domaine du Closel located at the Chateau des Vaults in the Loire region of Savennières.

Aging Savennières: underrated or overrated?
I think it is quite underrated. I have a whole collection of old Savennières, unfortunately not older than 50 years old but they are fantastic. I did a big tasting a couple of years ago for the 50th anniversary of the appellation with 50 vintages. it was really very interesting. I think they get another dimension when they age and they are more and more, very interesting food wines.

Botrytis: underrated or overrated?
I think botrytis is…hmm, that’s difficult. I don’t think people really know what it means. I think it might be overrated. Now that we are harvesting with no or very little botrytis, the wines are very pure and they really reflect the terroir more. And that is really our aim.

Chenin blanc: underrated or overrated?
Definitely underrated! It is a fantastic grape. Its versatility is really interesting. You have incredible sweet chenin blanc or very dry chenin blanc. You don’t really recognize the grape because it expresses the terroir, which is what I think is most interesting whether in Savennières or Vouvray or Swartland, it is going to taste very different. It always has this freshness because of its acidity.

So, maybe I need to rephrase: great grape, or the greatest grape?
Ha, I think the greatest grape of the future! It can face climate change because it has so much natural acidity so it doesn’t become flat. We are dong a big congress in July and this will be one of the questions.

(search for Domaine du Closel at retail)

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