Éric Chevalier, Chardonnay, Val De Loire, France 2021
Éric Chevalier is a rising star in the Pays Nantais of the Loire Valley. The Nantais is a maritime climate, and the vineyards are not far from the Atlantic Ocean. Consequently, there is an interesting variety of sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic rocks, as this area once was ocean floor.
In this land of châteaux and sea breezes, Chardonnay soaks in the complex minerals of the soils. This bottling has a distinct mineral aroma, like fresh rain on the rocky shores of a mountain river. But perhaps the most distinct characteristic of Éric’s Chardonnay is intrinsic to the grape itself: good Chardonnay has texture and grain, and that’s what you have here. It sinks into the palate and lasts and lasts.
Some wines deliver well beyond expectations and the Chevalier Chardonnay is one of them. As of 2020, the domaine is certified organic — a rare feat in a region known better for intensive farming and the pursuit of high yields over quality.