About the producer:
Clement Baraut is part of a new wave of winemakers, along with Patrick Baudouin, Joel Menard and Jo Pithon, to begin producing botrytis-free dry Chenin Blancs in the middle Loire Valley in the 1990s and early 2000s. While working as a consulting winemaker in the area, he has sought to convince other producers to harvest earlier and sort botrytis affected fruit out, in order to highlight the pristine, fruit-driven qualities of Chenin Blanc.
At his own domaine, he implements his own philosophies to the fullest in both the vineyard and the winery. In the vines, he practices Biodynamic viticulture, and draws inspiration from 18th century nature writing by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Baraut's study and observations have led him to eschew nearly all vine maintenance activities, apart from pruning, to allow the vines to grow undisturbed by human intervention.
Baraut's "Le Coteau de l'Ayre" Savennieres is an excellent embodiment of his approach to making Chenin Blanc. Harvested in two passes to highlight the racy acidity of early harvest fruit, as well as the more voluptuous side of the grape when it ripens more fully, the grapes are then carefully selected to remove any botrytis affected fruit. Clement is extremely hands off in winemaking, employing native yeast fermentation in neutral oak barriques, followed by elevage on the fine lees. No sulfur is added until roughly one year after harvest. This Chenin comes from the upper slopes of the lieu dit "Le Puit Rouille," which is notably rocky, with shallow soils and prominent schist bedrock. As such, this cuvee is crisp and mineral-driven.