Day 8: BrooklynGuy’s Wine of the Week – Bernard Baudry’s Rosé

BrooklynGuy loves wine (seriously in it’s his site url if you don’t believe me). Hailing from somewhere in New York, he has long been one the best sources in the blogosphere (fuck me i hate that word) for producer information, tasting notes (one of the few people whose tasting notes i read), and food pairing for offbeat, natural wines. His long running series “Wine of the Week” comes to saignée for day 8, and it’s a good one, coming from the genius that is Bernard Baudry. Enjoy.

I’ll never forget our visit to Domaine Bernard Baudry in Cravant les Coteaux, right outside of the town of Chinon. It was November of 2005, BrooklynLady and I went to France together for the first time. A day or two in Paris, but most of our time was spent exploring Vouvray, Montlouis, Tours, Saumur, Savennières, and Chinon. Our visit to Baudry began with a bit of an adventure. I drove our tiny jittery rental car from the hotel in Chinon to the estate, but via the bumpiest of unpaved back roads surrounded by forest, passing no one and nothing, unsure of the proper route. We eventually arrived a half hour later, but only after some treacherous driving and several stops to ask directions. Upon arriving we were warmly welcomed by Bernard’s son Mathieu who told us that Baudry’s house and estate can easily be reached via one of the main roads out of Chinon, perhaps a 10 minute drive. My wife looked at me with what has become a familiar facial expression, a crooked smile that says “You sometimes amuse me in your ineptitude and dorkiness, dear husband.”

Mathieu showed us cement vats full of fermenting juice – we saw and smelled the glorious 2005’s as they bubbled away, turning sugar into alcohol. I climbed a tall wooden ladder and stuck my head in one of the vats. Pungent, and also not easy to breathe – not a lot of oxygen. Everything was immaculate, even the antique tools hanging from the wall. We saw the vineyards surrounding the house, and then joined Mathieu in the house’s tasting room where we sampled everything from the most recent Croix Boisée Blanc to the new lineup of reds to a 1996 Les Grezeaux, a gorgeous wine.

Mathieu Baudry is in his mid thirties, married with two kids, properly schooled and internationally experienced in wine making, and now working with his father at the family estate. He is an absolutely lovely person, so warm and friendly, and genuinely interested in sharing his wines. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him several times since that visit, at tastings in New York, and he continues to embody the good things about being a wine maker.

The Baudry wines are in my opinion, the very finest in Chinon. They are transparent in the truest sense of the word – the fruit is exceptionally pure and clean, the sense of soil is prominent, and changes in character with each cuvée, reflecting the specific terroir. You can smell and taste the gravelly soil in Les Granges, the richness of the clay in Les Grezeaux. But the Baudry wines also offer beautiful concentration and richness – these are not light wines. The marriage of transparency and concentration is what makes these such special wines, for me.

Baudry’s wines feature a striking absence of anything that might impede the delivery of soil via fruit. Herbicides are never used, and all chemical treatments are widely avoided. Everything is done by hand, from yield-control debudding to harvest, and all wines ferment via naturally occurring yeasts.

As much as I adore the Baudry red wines, the rose has a special place in my heart too. The 2008 Bernard Baudry Chinon Rosé, $18, Louis/Dressner Selections, is 100% Cabernet Franc from two different parcels, one with flinty clay soils, and the other sandy gravel. The grapes are macerated in the press for a short time, technically making this a Rose de Pressurage (Pressed Rosé or Pressed-out Rosé). The wine then ferments in vat for as long as it takes to fully digest the sugars, a few weeks, sometimes months. “The vinification is quite similar to that of a white wine, as we want the wine to be dry (less than 3 grams of sugar/liter). That way, we can bottle the wine with just a very light filtration and very small doses of sulfites,” Mathieu Baudry wrote in an email. This wine was bottled in mid-April 2009, and is more widely available this year then I remember in years past. Which is a good thing.

ah that beautiful Long Island weather

This is a very special rosé with an entirely different aroma and flavor profile from what you’re used to if you drink Provence and similarly styled rosés. Drinking it blind I defy you to guess it a rosé – it smells kind of rosé, but drinks like a white wine. The nose offers vibrant and pure strawberry fruit and summer melon, spicy white peppercorns, and with a little bit of air, roses. It is a gorgeous nose, robust and delicate at the same time. The wine is superbly balanced on the palate with fresh orchard fruit, a primary white grapiness, perky but gentle acidity, and a fragrant finish that really lingers. This is a rosé of great presence and distinction. It compliments anything that you would normally eat with a crisp white wine, and also typical rosé summer BBQ and picnic foods. I haven’t tried this pairing yet, but something tells me that this wine will be beautiful with fresh goat cheese.

Thanks again Cory for including me in your celebration of natural wine.

Follow day by day here:

Next Up: Peter Liem on Vouette et Sorbée; or: Peter Liem is that guy who drinks Champagne all the time so you don’t have to because you can’t.

~ by Cory Cartwright on June 26, 2009.

5 Responses to “Day 8: BrooklynGuy’s Wine of the Week – Bernard Baudry’s Rosé”

  1. Excellent post BG and thanks for joining the lineup. I love baudry and just wish i had more in the cellar. His franc de pied is serious old school tasting stuff that seems like it can be locked away for awhile.
    Quick question…does anyone know where to get this on the west coast? Talking to Clark Terry over at Kermit yielded no results…

  2. Love that wine. One of my few must roses every summer.


    Order the ’07 from CSW, have them hold it till Fall and then ship. Only way right now I believe.

  3. BrooklynGuy, I love how you write about the transparency of the wine… it’s such a wonderful metaphor that functions on so many levels… it also seems to capture the essence of the man who makes the wine. Tracie B and I are dying to taste this wine…

  4. Cory, if you do put in that order, mark one for me too :) You know I’m good for it.

  5. […] di Blasi on Frank Cornelissen in Sicily, Lyle Fass on natural in Germany, Joe Manekin on Spain, Brooklyn Guy on Bernard Baudry’s Rose and my dear friend Alice Feiring talks about her Muscadet moment in Paris. There’s tons more that […]

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