Epic Chenin with Guts, Vigor to Go for 25+
2009 Chidaine Montlouis Les Lys Moelleux
A Fair Rival to Huet Cuvée Constance
"Silken in texture and seamlessly long, this is ethereal rather than confectionary and preserves a marvelous - given its ripeness and vintage, almost miraculous - sense of refreshment." -David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate
François Chidaine's reputation has loomed large in France for years. It's only been in the past few years, however, that the magic Chidaine works with the Chenin Blanc grape is finally starting to get noticed in this country too.
Domaine Huet is in our opinion the benchmark for Chenin Blanc - but the last few vintages of Chidaine's wines have been so compelling that we are beginning to believe the best deserve to be put alongside the top bottlings of Huet.
If all of this praise starts to sound like we're brokering in hyperbole, turn back to Schildknecht, whose keen palate is rivaled only by his cool, hype-free writing. Not shy when it comes to Chidaine's skills, he simply (and significantly) sums up, "Chidaine is one of the world's finest craftsmen in the medium of white wine."
Today's offer is for what has to be referred to as Chidaine's baby: his 2009 Montlouis Les Lys Moelleux, a miniscule-production cuvée (1,000 bottles this year) that Chidaine only makes in very special vintages - it's been six years since his last release.
2009 was a very ripe vintage in the Loire with rich yet balanced fruit. The densities the wines of this vintage show are due to both botrytis as well as dehydration, causing shriveled grapes with shocking concentration. Chidaine's Les Lys Moelleux, sourced meticulously in multiple small pickings from across Chidaine's parcels in Montlouis is, as Schildknecht says, "one of the high points of the vintage."
The soaring success of Les Lys' in this ripe vintage highlights Chidaine's magic touch with Chenin. Though this is a certifiable sweet wine, he's able to render the grape with such a vigorous acidity, such a sense of brightness, along with finessed poise and finely etched detail - essential qualities for a noble sweet wine.
When it comes to placing Chidaine's Les Lys among the big boys, Schildknecht isn't shy here either; he ranks this 09 right up there with Huet's Cuvée Constance. At $77.95 a bottle, Chidaine's Les Lys isn't inexpensive, but when you consider the caliber, the painstaking vineyard work and the rarity - nevermind the compare-at pricing for the Cuvée Constance, the value this delivers becomes very readily apparent.
Chidaine's Les Lys promises to be an epic wine that will only become more complex with a quarter of a century (plus) in the cellar. It's worth noting that when we're talking about complexity and ageability of these wines, we're talking about one of the most noble and longest lived grapes around: Chenin, along with Riesling, rules this category.
Today's wine provides proof both to this point and the assertion that Chidaine is one of the Loire's very best. Special three-pack pricing today is provided to encourage you to see for yourself.
To order, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the store at (212) 980-9463.
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David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate: "From several small pickings of botrytized fruit that filled five demi-muids, Chidaine will assemble (as he infrequently does) a 2009 Montlouis Les Lys that is a distilled essence of billowing and liquefied floral perfume - prominently lily and linden (tilleul) - along with candied grapefruit rind, glazed pineapple, and quince preserves. Silken in texture and seamlessly long, this is ethereal rather than (as is more typical for moelleux Chenin of the vintage) confectionary and preserves a marvelous - given its ripeness and vintage, almost miraculous - sense of refreshment. This extraordinary elixir promises to be one of the high points of its vintage and to merit following for at least a quarter century."
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