Bitterness is the new minerality
Back in April 2021 I was lucky enough to do a zoom wine tasting with the fabulous Vanessa Cherruauhh of Chateau Plaisance in Anjou.
A zoom tasting was the only option back then in the middle of lockdown. It is a strange idea at first; you are sent a number of bottles that you open and taste while your zoom host describes what they do and gives some explanation of the wines. In this case our host was Vanessa Cherruauhh, who at 32 is young for a chateau owner.
Vanessa had a powerful and refreshing confidence in her region and in her wines. Asked for her opinion of South Africa as a location for fine chenin she was unequivocal - “the finest chenin blanc is from the Loire”. Take that South African pretenders!
It would be easy to dismiss this as naivety, were it not for the quality of the wines, which were indeed exceptional. The vineyards have been organic since 1995 and managed biodynamically since 2008. That is a long time and, yet again the success of this approach shines through in the wine. I am convinced that healthy, organic vineyards, produce more vibrant and, above all, more complex wines.
We tasted four wines from the entry level Anjou Blanc to the single vineyard La Grand Piece, but the stand-out wine for me was the Ronceray. Vanessa’s description of it yielded one of my favourite new wine phrases in a long time. She explained that it shows some bitterness. This is indeed true; it has a hugely appealing bitter note towards the finish that, like that perfect pint of ale, keeps you coming back for another sip. Vanessa explained that “bitterness is the new minerality” and I have been using that ever since.
If you fancy trying this for yourself please follow this link. We will only receive a tiny allocation of this wine, so I apologise in advance if it has run out. Do grab some while you can.