Dom Du Petit Clocher Chardonnay 18

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Time and time again, during my buying trips to France, I'm amazed by the incredible variety of wines produced in the Loire Valley. The region's dynamic maritime and continental climates and the diversity of terroir provide perfect conditions for a wide variety of grapes. When it comes to white wine, the area is undoubtedly best known for its stunning Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc; however, savvy white wine buyers also look to the region for its excellent un-oaked Chardonnay.

A lot of my job as a wine merchant requires patience. Waiting for the new vintages to arrive, waiting for container ships to get across the Atlantic, waiting for the wine to reach North Carolina -- the list is nearly endless, and the pandemic has unquestionably added to the tension. More often than not, the patience pays off, resulting in a bottle of fabulous wine at a great price for AWM customers. I'm happy to report that once again, the persistence and patience have paid off nicely with the arrival of wines from Domaine du Petit Clocher!

It all started in 2015 when I met the Denis family at a wine fair in the South of France. They were wonderful folks, I loved their wines, and they were very reasonably priced for such great quality. I couldn't wait to introduce these liquid jewels to AWM customers. Long story short, I wasn't able to connect all the import and logistic dots to get the wine into North Carolina.

Fast forward six years, and I was presented with the opportunity to give this another shot. Again, sometimes in the wine business, it's all about patience, and this time it proved to be worth the wait!

You'll find Domaine du Petit Clocher in the Anjou commune of Lys-Haut-Layon. The vineyards are at the confluence of two major geological zones: the Thouet Catchment, which comprises eruptive ore formations, and the schist-based Armorican Massif. Both lend gorgeous minerality to the Domaine's wines, perfectly balancing the vibrant, ripe fruit.

Over the decades, the Domaine has grown from an initial 5 hectares to currently more than eighty hectares under vine. Brothers Maurice, Stéphane, and Julien Denis are fifth-generation vignerons and stewards of the property. They lovingly manage the entire operation from grape to bottle, proudly steering the family property into its one-hundredth year of ownership.

In your glass, I think you'll agree; this is a lot of Chardonnay for the money! Give it a minute or two to settle into your glass, and after a few quick swirls, you'll be treated to lovely citrus notes with hints of toast around the edges. The palate is the real star here, with layers of citrus, green apple, and a whisper of hazelnut on the finish. The gorgeous richness nicely balances the beam of minerality, and as an added bonus, it comes in at just 12.5%.

This one is not for the long-term, as it's at its peak now and drinking like a champ. Enjoy this over the next 12 months with white-fleshed fish, chicken, and pork. There's also enough body and oomph that will pair with white meats from the grill.

Every once and a while, good things come to those who wait!



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