Happening Now Tasting 21: Domaine Gérard Boulay Sancerre Chavignol 2009, Sancerre

My recent „Happening Now Tastings“ haven't been all too blissful! I very much hope today I'll be a little bit more lucky!? This time I am off to Loire region, to the East, more precisely to Sancerre, to Sancerre Rouge … - I am afraid?! At least the producer is highly regarded as one of the grand masters of Sancerre wines - … Sauvignon Blanc wines. His name: Gérard Boulay from the lil' village of Chavignol. This Chavignol is also the very name of today's Pinot Noir. The vines for this Sancerre Rouge were cultivated on limey clay (organic, … - not the clay, of course). The outcome of these village vineyards was fermented for approximately 18 days and aged, without sulfuring … - oh oh, for 16 months in 30 % new barriques. Fining or filtering weren't on the agenda either. Well, forgive me for those irresponsibly confusing … - comments. After writing this introduction am not quite sure were this is heading. I am just a bit afraid this “Happening Now Tasting” might get a little bit “difficult” again. Anyway, let's see how this Sancerre Rouge Chavignol 2009 from Domaine Gérard Boulay is performing …

5:39 pm (just opened)

Colour: interesting hue; largely very transparent and surprisingly dark garnet colour; no substantial discolourations

Nose: a bit weird at start; savage, maybe a bit grungy, definitely a bit more than slightly glue'y (13,5 %), besides that I am getting hints of dark berries (mildly boiled), indications of oak, some black olives (?) and diffuse sweaty animal odour; at the moment special, crude, mostly cool -apart of the dark berries – and still a bit out of balance

Taste: even a bit more weird; right after popping the cork a bit very nervous and rustic, kinda malty, dominated by mostly brown (and a bit pulpy) fruit, traces of eucalyptic freshness plus sturdy smoke (perhaps even a bit meaty), downright imprinted by the local soil (at the moment in a rather harsh way), quite tannic and very well equipped with plenty of acid, actual length seems fine; this one needs more than just some integration time; I am afraid it is demanding a two or even three day tasting session.

7:11 pm

Nose: luckily the glue'y expression vanished, right now there is more smoke and smoked meat, even some musk is evolving, the dark berries are still present although a bit shy and still mildly boiled, all in all it is appearing substantially more balanced, however still very rustic and peasant'ish

Taste: not as nervous as 1 ½ hours ago, there is balance is on the horizon; the fruit flavours are seeming more fresh and less brown, there are obvious characteristics of Pinot - of lean, cool-climate, smoky and fresh Pinot – evident. Still pretty wild, rustic and crude and full of deep mineral footprints, abrasiveness and astringency has eased as well

8:55 pm

Nose: fruit fragrances (still mildly boiled ones) are gaining ground, arising herbal attributes as well (mostly juniper, black pepper and fennel), musk and meaty smoke impression is consistent, at the moment there might be a few steely characteristics, too; overall more approachable, complex and balanced, however still a bit rough

Taste: gaining more precision, length and depth, the actual flavours haven't changed so much; I think this is about to enter an enjoyable, pretty balanced and very lively phase, a minor hint of alcohol might be in the starting block (we'll see); still nowhere near elegance or transcendence, but a lot of character and very “reasonable” profundity

9:56 pm

Nose: seems pretty steady at the moment; well, the musk – which I wasn't tremendously fond of – is declining

Taste: same here, no mentionable movement; maybe a bit more playful; alcoholic aromas are still in the cage – I hope they will remain there

11:13 pm

At the moment in a really good phase; flavours are pretty much the same and not so far away from a state of harmony; still a rather juvenile wine with a quite a lot to potential to evolve; anyway - I better save my final impressions for tomorrow. A bit sleepy ...

7:55 pm (the day after)

Today the Boulay Pinot is stronger on the herbal, hint'ishly herbaceous and even a bit spicy side. The actual style is the same. Still rather rustic, rough, crude, a bit acidic, slightly boiled, surely soil driven and far away from elegance or aristo-pinot-sophistication. I kinda like this Pinot style now and then. However perhaps not too often. For me a downright decent **** and still rather juvenile Pinot Noir with distinct Sancerre Rouge characteristics. In a not so distant future there might be even more than just decent quality to this one. However I am sure this stuff ain't something for a broad palatal strata. Therefore it is simply too rough and demanding. One final marginal and very important note: Do something about this poor cork quality, please! It is a shame to put something like this in bottle neck of such a wine!

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