Thibaud Boudignon Loire Valley, France.
Thibaud Boudignon is one of the new young stars of the Loire Valley based in Savennieres. He also owns two small vineyards across the river on the south side of the Loire in the Anjou. Having worked with Philippe Charlopin in Gevrey Chambertin and also in Australia he is (since 2007) the winemaker for Chateau Soucherie in Coteau du Layon making a range of dry and sweet wines for that large prestigious property. With just 3.8 hectares of vines he has gradually bought and planted several prime parcels in the small Savennieres appellation including a parcel which borders Baumard's Clos St Yves vineyard (not far from the famous La Roche-aux-Moines vineyard).
Working organically in the vineyards he harvests by hand making successive tries throughout each vineyard ending with yields that are much lower than the AOC rules. He vinifies with natural yeasts and ages the wines in a mixture of barrels ranging from 300-600 litres. There are hogsheads, cigares, puncheons and small 600 litre foudres from the highly regarded Austrian cooper, Stockinger. Ultimately though, new oak influence is not a part of the style. This results in wines of striking purity, depth and intensity, with each wine clearly reflecting its particular terroir. They are wines with terrific freshness and structure that have the capacity to age well for many years. Availability is very limited and the wines sell out quickly each year.
All the white wines are 100% Chenin Blanc.
WINE NOTES AND REVIEWS
2017 Rosé de Loire Substantially Cabernet Franc, with some Grolleau and a little Gamay, from 38 year-old vines, grown on shallow soils of grey schist, rhyolite and sand. Cool-fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts for 2-3 weeks, followed by maturation in tank for 4 to 6 months before bottling. Malolactic conversion is inhibited to produce a fresh, vibrant, yet textural rosé, with good length and intriguing mineral complexity.
2016 Anjou Blanc From 36 year-old vines, planted at 8000 vines/ha on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite. Fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts for 2-3 weeks, followed by maturation in 300l and 750l barrels (30% new) for 15-18 months.
2016 Anjou Blanc à François(e)… From a parcel of 36 year-old vines in St-Lambert-du-Lattay, planted at 8000 vines/ha on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite. Native yeast fermented in wood including some 300l cigares, used to build lees complexity. Maturation in these and 700l demi-muids (30% new) for 15–18 months. Named in honour of his mother Françoise, who passed away when Thibaud was 17, and his father François.
2016 Savennières Les Fougerais From the lieu-dit of Les Fougerais in the heart of Savennières, near LaRoche aux Moines and La Coulée de Serrant; 46 year-old vines planted at 8000 vines/ha on shallow soils of grey schist and rhyolite. Native yeast fermented in wood including some 300l cigares, used to build lees complexity. Maturation in these and 600l demi-muids (30% new) for 15–18 months.
2016 Anjou Blanc Clos de la Hutte From the lieu-dit of Clos de la Hutte in the hamlet of La Possonnière, this is a newly replanted vineyard growing on solid schist, with not more than 30cm of sandy topsoil above the bedrock. Native yeast fermented in wood including some 300l cigares, used to build lees complexity. Maturation in these and 600l demi-muids (30% new) for 15–18 months.
2014 Anjou Blanc'From old vines in the commune of St Lambert du Lattay, on soils rich in clay. Élevage in 30% new oak; Thibaud tends to give the new oak to this wine, and only use it for the upper-class cuvées in subsequent years. A beautiful, minerally matchstick character to the nose. A very defined and pure sense to the palate, quite polished, yes there are some notes of liquorice oak here from the new wood, but also a refined sense of minerally fruit, with white stone, and a little yellow plum note in the background. Nice acidity. An impressive entry-level wine. 16.5/20.' 16.5 points, Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com, February 2016.
2014 Anjou Blanc à François(e)…'The fruit here also comes from St Lambert du Lattay, the focus here being those vines with the best position and aspect, but there is also a selection in the cellars. Thibaud takes only the best part of the juice, and ferments it in barrels, with no racking. The nose seems pure and smoky, with minerally notes, especially gunpowder. A fresh and defined palate, very tense in style, a profound minerally depth, with some light liquorice tones presumably oak-derived, also some white stone fruit. But it is the pointed mineral frame, reinforced by the acidity, that is the most striking feature of the palate. It culminates with a long, grippy finish. This is top notch.' 17.5 points, Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com, February 2016.
2014 Savennières Les Fougerais'The vines are planted on soils of sand and schist. Thibaud feels the sandy soils imbue a feminine character to the wine, but that the schist gives it some real power. I get a smoky and flinty nose, quite perfumed, fresh and bright. The palate has a very gentle character, albeit with lots of grip underneath, and appealing notes of white stone fruit, peaches and peach skins, with a bright character, lots of freshness and lots of minerally energy into the finish. I like the wines rich acid definition in combination with the fruit, a defining feature of the 2014 vintage I think.'17.5/20 points,Chris Kissack, thewinedoctor.com, February 2016.
'Made by one of the rising stars of Savennieres, this wine reveals Boudignon’s Burgundian experience, showing subtle oak, crunchy acidity and notes of fennel, lemon zest and baking spices.'94 points, Tim Atkin MW, Gourmet Traveller Wine, April/May 2015.