2019 Julien Fouet L'Ardillon Saumur Chenin
Region: Saumur-Champigny < Loire Valley < France
Grapes: Chenin Blanc
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified organic (Ecocert); mixture of heavy clay soils with exposed volcanic tuffa; fruit is hand harvested and sorted first in the vineyard, then in the cellar; whole-cluster fermented and aged in concrete; bottled unfined with <20ppm added So2; 13% ABV
Winemaker: Julien Fouet
This small estate, a classic father-and-son operation, has six generations of wine growing and producing under its belt, with dad tending (organically) to the vineyards, and young Julien making the wines. They just got their organic certification, and proudly boast that they "have several parcels in ecopaturage, that is to say with sheep who are in charge of weeding the vines instead of mechanical work". We love to see cute sheep working the vineyards instead of dino-fueled machinery.
And we love this lovely Chenin almost as much - bone-dry, with the viscosity and waxy, oily texture that is textbook Chenin, on a generous palate of bright lemon, grapefruit, fresh cut grass and wet rocks. The finish is super minerally, almost Sancerre-like, without veering into SB's green jalapeño territory. An incredibly delicious, well made wine for an equally incredible price - house white, perhaps?