1996 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon (Previously $50.00)

SKU #1241475 90 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The most recent release of Moulin Touchais (for more about whose unusual operation, see my report in issue 172) is a 1996 Coteaux du Layon that 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. (DS)  (8/2010)

K&L Notes

Light sweetness is balanced superbly by acid, fruit, and age that will only continue to improve. This rigidly traditional, authentic Chenin Blanc of Moulin Touchais has produced a "must-have" wine for admirers of Loire wines.

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Price: $39.99

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Chenin Blanc

- Also called Pineau de la Loire and Pineau d'Anjou. Chenin Blanc is an expressive white French varietal that makes beautiful dry, sweet and sparkling wines. Traditionally grown in the Loire Valley, the wines made from this varietal are typically labeled geographically. Vouvray Chenins are traditionally medium-sweet; Savennières Chenins are typically bright and crisp; Coteaux du Layon Chenins like Bonezeaux and Quarts de Chaume are among the world's most sought-after sweet wines, and the sparkling Chenins of Saumur are perfumed and delicious. What all of these iterations of the grape have in common is their ability to age, a gift bestowed upon them because of the grape's naturally high-acidity.


- When it comes to wine, France stands alone. No other country can beat it in terms of quality and diversity. And while many of its Region, Bordeaux, Burgundy and Champagne most obviously, produce wine as rare, as sought-after and nearly as expensive as gold, there are just as many obscurities and values to be had from little known appellations throughout the country. To learn everything there is to know about French wine would take a lifetime. To understand and appreciate French wine, one only has to begin tasting them. Click for a list of bestselling items from all of France.


- Of all of the French wine producing regions, the Loire might produces the greatest variety of wines. They range from still to sparkling, very dry and acidic to hearty sweet, and clear in color to a deep purple. The diversity of wine produced in this region is due in part to its dynamic climate, which ranges from Continental to Mediterranean. This region is best known for Sauvignon blanc, Chenin blanc and Cabernet Franc. The most famous areas in the Loire Valley may be Sancerre and Vouvray.