2018 J. Mourat Roquin de Jardin Chenin Blanc
Region: Fiefs Vendéens < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Chenin Blanc
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming (EcoCert); volcanic soils with 35% quartz; de-stemmed, then fermented and aged in concrete; 12.5% ABV
Winemaker: Jéremie Mourat
An hour south of Nantes along the central coast of France, Fiefs Vendéens is the westernmost tip of the Loire Valley, just 20 km from the coast, resulting in a maritime influence from the nearby Atlantic that is unusual for Loire wines. The Mourat family has been in wine for a long time – first making wine on the Ile de Ré (along with salt) until the end of the 19th century, then as wine merchants, until Jean Mourat created the current estate in 1974. Son Jéremie joined him in ‘98, converting all of the family's 10 acres to organic farming. Today he makes several different cuvees, including his adorable ‘Roquin de Jardin’ (garden gnome) Pinot and Chenin bottlings, meant to be the fun everyday drinkers. Ridiculously cute packaging aside, we fell hard for this bright, edgy take on Chenin. More like Sancerre than the classic, wooly Chenin style, this one lights up with neon green and citrus notes and puckery acidity. A long, mineral finish seals the deal. Happy juice.