Nicolas Joly started his winemaking journey in 1977, taking over his family’s estate in the Loire after a successful career in finance. A master in biodynamics long before “natural” was a buzzword in the wine world, Joly began using biodynamic farming methods in 1984 after researching ways to modernize and better manage the family estate. While Joly forged ahead in what was controversial viticulture at the time, he was able to produce some of the best, remarkably complex, terroir-driven and beautifully age-worthy white wines.
The Coulee de Serrant vineyard is a single estate appellation exclusively owned by the Joly family. Planted in 1130 by Cistercian monks, this seven-hectare vineyard is one of three single estates that is also its own appellation in all of France. This vineyard, located in the southeast corner of Savennieres, is home to Chenin Blanc vines ranging from 35 to 80 years old. The soils consist of a multifaceted mix of limestone, schist, granite and sand. Joly believes Chenin Blanc achieves complexity only when the grape is fully ripe, therefore harvesting is done later and throughout several passes. This harvesting period can sometimes stretch over a few months, after four our five passes, allowing for bunches to be picked at the right moment.
The Nicolas Joly Clos de la Coulee de Serrant 2001 is a truly beautiful and pure wine showing how unique Chenin Blanc can taste. The nose shows plenty of tertiary notes typical of a wine with age – nutmeg, lemon curd, chamomile, butterscotch, wet wool and smoke – however on the palate the wine is bright, fresh and layered with complexity. Bursting with notes of tropical fruit, honeysuckle and jasmine, followed by a layered nutty touch and smoke characteristic, along with an oxidative touch of bruised apples. Wonderfully complex and beautiful, this wine is one to try in a lifetime.