Sweet / Fortified
Historic property of 145 hectares, of which only 10% is from the Coteaux du Layon appellation.
Schist, limestone and chalk
Coteaux du Layon rarely gets much botrytis, and consequently many of the sweeter-styled chenin blancs are a result of the grapes dehydrating on the vine, rather than being concentrated by noble rot.
Fermentation in apoxy- or glass-lined concrete.
Ages for 6-8 months before being bottled. Wine is held for at least a decade of cellar ageing prior to release.
Everything seems to be right where it should be with this wine -- acidity and sugars are well blanced and there is a quiet elegance that keeps you engaged and satisfied. Not too much of any one thing. Just right.
Illustrates the striking combination of mineral and nobly sweet characteristics that were possible in this unusual vintage, though its notoriously high acidity is scarcely noticeable thanks to the balance lent by high sugar and the harmony conveyed by time in bottle. Alkaline and wet stone aromas here approach the effect of sticking one’s head down a moss- and algae-covered cistern, accompanied by scents of lily, narcissus, quince preserves, stale bread, musk, and sweat. The rich quince character is carried and complimented by a juicy and not at all heavy palate impression, and this finishes with remarkable refreshment and pronouncedly alkaline and stony minerality, as well as snuffed candle wick smokiness and bitterness of quinine. Prices for these wines continue to be quite reasonable considering their combination of quality and late release that permits access to mature nobly sweet Chenin. Such access was still nearly universal in the early ‘80s, when Terry Theise first piqued my interest in nobly sweet Loire Chenin, but gradually the art of holding old stocks died, along with the fashion for these wines – indeed, along with many once-renowned domaines.
This estate, owned by the same family since 1787, has amazing stocks of old sweet wines maturing in its cellars. With red apple, honey and apricot aromas, this wine, mature and yet so fresh, is proof of the aging ability of Chenin Blanc. It is the balance between the ripe honeyed flavors and the intense acidity that keeps it so vibrant. Drink this superb wine now. - WE
The 1996 vintage of Moulin Touchais is not as glazed with botrytis as the 1997 and relies more on desiccated fruit and late harvest ripeness to attain its sweetness, which gives it a different aromatic and flavor profile than the 1997, but the wine is every bit as profound. The excellent nose jumps from the glass in a blaze of fresh pineapple, quince, chalky soil, incipient notes of the honeycomb to follow, orange peel, bee pollen and a potpourri of citrus blossoms. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very racy in personality, with a great core of fruit, laser-like focus, striking soil signature and stunning length and grip on the electric finish. The 1997 has more flash at the present time and will always be the bigger wine, but my heart is won by the precision, refinement and inherent complexity of the racy 1996! 2020-2075. - Jon Gilman
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