Helen’s blog

Thoughts and tastings from Helen Savage, wine writer.

Domaine des Liards – as good as ever

I was delighted to have the opportunity to take clients yesterday to the Domaine des Liards in Montlouis-sur-Loire and to spend an hour or so with Laurent Berger.

I have long admired the wines from this estate, which has also just received organic certification from Ecocert, and has for many years has been widely regarded amongst the best in this rather under-rated appellation.

The old cellars, cut into the rock and gradually expanded over the last five generations are prefect for the production of sparkling wine.

Brut NV (currently based on the 2010 vintage) was aged two years on the lees. A liqueur de tirage of 20g/l gives a slightly less pressure than Champagne. With a dosage of 8g/l balanced by a fresh 6.9 g/l total acidity (measured as tartaric acid), it is complex, creamy and long – a tribute to the potential of Chenin Blanc to make a very fine-quality  sparkling wine in this part of the world.

The still wines, vinified and aged in oak casks are also very good indeed. Malo-lactic conversion is not encouraged.

The 2011 Sec is quite soft, though with enough fresh acidity to balance the flavour of very ripe apples. The style, as follows the winemaking, is very slightly oxidative, which gives it considerable complexity.

The 2008 Sec is showing superbly, with racier acidity than the 2011, great persistence and length.

Demi-Sec 2011, ‘Montée des Liards’ from a plot of 66 year-old vines (26g/l residual sugar) has very spicy, ripe apple fruit and almost seems to have more crunchy acidity than the Sec. It’s a lovely wine.

2010 Moelleux ‘La Côte St Martin’ (80g/l residual sugar) shows the apricot touch of botrytis, along with ripe apple. It too is balanced by mouth-watering acidity and is very long and fine.

Laurent kindly opened a 1990 Moelleux in honour of the birth year of Gemma, one of my clients. Botrytis showed again. Full of life, balanced as ever by fresh acidity, it was spicy, long and testament again to the quality both of this excellent estate and of Montlouis itself.

Comments are closed.