Something new over the weekend. We shared a bottle of this extraordinary wine with friends who live just a few minutes away from this estate in the Layon. The Domaine des Griottes is one of the leaders in the natural wine movement and to be honest I'm not really bowled over by the idea of natural winemaking, the results being extremely variable even from bottle to bottle.
Our friends were kind enough not to make us taste it 'aveugle' because I fully admit that I would have seriously embarrassed myself. I thought it resembled a Pineau des Charentes or a fortified wine of some kind. Nothing of the sort - this is a Chenin Blanc made from super mature grapes, fermented very slowly over a long period of time and then aged in wood for 5 years in the style of a vin jaune. The vines are 100 years old and the wine takes its name from the horse that is used in the vineyard, Caroline.
I absolutely love it. It's exotic, full of quince and with some black tea and ginger notes. It also has an aroma that reminds me of Cognac - hard to believe that it's only 13% alcohol and no hint of fortification. We drank it as an apero but I think it would be fabulous with foie gras and pain d'epices too.
For more information, loads of pictures and a much more in depth write up see Wine Terroirs Blog post.