There are a lot of reasons to buy this wine. First things first: this is impeccably aged, perfectly mature with 12 years of bottle age and not once has the wine moved from the Domaine. Second, the estate is a French icon, with some of the most impressive holdings in one of France’s most legendary appellations. Lastly, it is brought in by one of America’s greatest importers. Beyond all of this, it is spectacularly delicious - savory and full, yet mineral and racy, with a complexity totally unique in the world of wine.
The wine is 2006 Ch. d’Épiré Savennières Cuvée Spéciale. d’Épiré plays an outsized role in the history of the Loire, as well as for the importing legacy of Kermit Lynch. With a legacy stretching back to the 11th century, d’Épiré is one of the oldest and most celebrated producers in the Loire. Under the sway of the Bizard family since the 17th century, there is a strong sense that the Domaine is well guided by knowledgeable and experienced hands.
Time is not the only reason that makes d’Épiré special. It is also the terroir. I’ll let Kermit explain: “The Savennières from Épiré is regarded as Grand Cru. The domaine works primarily three parcels: La Croix Picot, Le Parc, and Le Hu-Boyau. It is the latter that sits just above another famous vineyard, La Coulée de Serrant. The soils here are rich, and the microclimate is ideal. Southern and south-eastern sun exposure brings ripeness to the grapes, while the proximity to the Loire River keeps the temperatures moderate. The subsoils are comprised of sandstone and schist, and the top soil is a beautiful blue slatey schist that covers the vineyard floors, lending nerve and firmness.”
2006 was a difficult year in the Loire, but it is precisely the type of year that reveals great terroir and d’Épiré’s is indisputably profound terroir abuttng La Coulée de Serrant as it does. Having recently drunk a bottle at the Domaine on the Kermit Lynch trip in January, the complex, savory density carried along on a motherlode of mineral energy was impossible not to be dazzled by. I bought all the remaining stocks on the spot.
I really can’t recommend this wine enough. The combination of factors - age, provenance, terroir, breed, complexity, etc. - all lead us to the obvious: buy this. Buy this before it’s gone.
2006 Ch. d’Épiré Savennières Cuvée Spéciale
The Cuvée Spéciale is blended by Kermit from their best parcel and creates a dry wine, austere within its first two or three years, that develops substantially with age. This cuvée is aged in traditional but largely abandoned chestnut barrels, and is bottled unfined and unfiltered.
93 pts.: “Light minerally, herbal nose; focused, minerally, tart baked peach and stones palate; medium finish (a great Savennieres).” Richard Jennings