Francois Chidaine Montlouis Clos Habert 2007

Francois Chidaine, Montlouis sur Loire, Clos Habert 2007 This wine was a tremendous disappointment after my experience with the previous vintage, reviewed earlier. First it was worrisome that the colour was quite golden.

Smelling the wine was a first rate example of VA, one that I could use in a seminar on wine flaws. Ethyl acetate at low levels often contributes complexity. We see this with Sauternes where working in the mix of everything else, it adds to the net experience rather than subtracting from it.

In the mouth you could see what this wine truly would deliver if it hadn’t been allowed to go south. There was stony minerality, with lime and a subtle spin of RS, as well as a fatness, rich and somewhat thick.

I asked about the bottle and the staff was kind to pour another glass from a new bottle and unfortunately the experience was the same. We can only speculate the cause, perhaps the sulfur levels dropped too low during production or a flawed seal on both wines allowed an excessive ingress of oxygen and an early dissipation of the SO2.

VA is a natural phenomenon in wine. It’s only an issue when it leaps above the threshold and becomes glaringly obvious. I’m disappointed that the wine buyer did not catch this and that the restaurant did not offer to remove the charge from the bill. It was certainly a glass that I did not finish.

The estate’s vineyards are certified organic. The vines in the Clos Habert are 60 years old. Mis au domaine in Husseau, purchased by the glass for $12 at the Slanted Door in San Francisco.

About RJ

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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