2010 Château Pierre-Bise "Les Rouannières" Coteaux du Layon-Beaulieu (500ml) (Previously $25)
Amber gold. Sumptuous aromas of figs, dates, almonds and vanilla. Velvety and viscous on the attack, then sharply delineated on the middle palate due to the ripe acidity, which further concentrates the honeyed flavors of white chocolate, caramel and peach nectar. While this is fresher and even purer owing to its dried currant depth and lively acidity, it does not have quite the complexity provided by botrytis in the 2011 version. I give them the same score today but the 2011 will probably be the more interesting wine over the years. (JBP)
Golden orange colour. Unusual nose: chamomile, hay and apricots. Honeyed and gorgeous on the palate. I'd love to try this with some hard cheeses. Silky texture, viscous but no heaviness.
Les Rouannières, perhaps the finest, firmest, slowest-to-evolve and longest-lasting of all Papin's moelleux, is from very meagre, superficial soil whose base is the volcanic rock spilite. The soil is so superficial it cannot be plowed: it would erode and disappear. So instead, the Papins plant grass, which serves to keep the soil from eroding, competes with the vine thus keeping yields low and provoking the vine to send its roots down into the bedrock, and, when it is turned, mulches the soil with organic matter. The effect of proximity to the Layon, the elevation and exposure to the wind, and the extremely meagre soil which dries up very quickly in the fall, is to produce very powerful, firm moelleux. This is in principle the Domaine's single best site. Aged in vat only.