Chateau d'Epire, Savennieres, Cuvee Speciale 2016
91 points Wine Spectator
Clear and precise, with a distinctive velvety texture that caresses the palate, while flavors of apple, lemon curd and thyme combine. Salted butter details linger on the long, savory finish.
Kermit Lynch, Importer
CHATEAU D’ÉPIRÉ One of the oldest and most celebrated domaines in Savennières, Chateau d’Épiré is rich in history. Savennières is situated just southwest of Angers, on the north bank of the Loire River. Vines have been cultivated there since the time of the Romans. The domaine itself has been in the Bizard family continuously since the 17th century.
The most recent owners and caretakers of the land are Monsieur and Madame Luc Bizard. They own eleven hectares, nine of which are entirely dedicated to the cultivation of Pineau de la Loire, known today as Chenin Blanc. The château is exquisite, but the pièce de résistance is their winery, formerly a Romanesque chapel, which is from the 12th century.
For years we have imported the only remaining chestnut-aged Savennières. Chestnut is a neutral wood that totally respects the particular natural aromas and flavors of schist-grown Chenin Blanc in this part of the Loire Valley. It was the traditional aging vessel locally until oak came along, at which point history was roundly dismissed. KLWM, in partnership with Épiré’s owners, the Bizard family, decided to preserve this history.
A few years ago we slowly began to replace the oldest barrels with acacia, the next-best thing, as all the local barrel-makers had disappeared and we found no other source—until just recently. Our first new chestnut barrel makes its debut this year. Vintage 2016 was relatively late at Épiré (and cool), and the resulting wine is classic Savennières: pure, racy, and grainy, the impact of Épiré’s unique magmatic soil palpable.