There has been a changing of the guard at Château d'Epiré whose wines we have been shipping since 1970. Luc Bizard is enjoying a well-earned retirement now that his son Paul has taken over the running of this historic estate that has been owned by the family since 1882 and whose cellars are located in a former Roman church in the centre of Savennières.
Happily, Paul's inaugural vintage of 2018 was a success with a fine ripening season yielding a relatively large crop of good quality fruit; a stark contrast to Luc's swansong in 2017 when 40% of the potential harvest was lost to spring frost. The classic Château d'Épiré 'Sec', which accounts for the lion's share of production, has a complex bouquet of wild flowers, sherry flor and beeswax plus a generous palate of ripe orchard fruit with subtle undertones of honey and minerals prior to a long, dry, elegant finish. It makes a fine partner to fish and poultry dishes and can readily support 3-5 years bottle age. When autumn mists induce 'Noble Rot', a sweet Savennières 'Moelleux' is also made. It has much the same complexity and concentration as the dry wine but with (at least) 17 grams of residual sugar it is richly-honeyed and capable of ageing for a decade or more if well-cellared.
The most celebrated estate in Savennières is the monopole sub-appellation of 'Coulée de Serrant' which is farmed on a strict bio-dynamic basis by the Joly family. Typically, the finished wine has diverse scents and flavours of honeysuckle, russet apples, fennel and bay underscored by mineral notes and a fresh acidity. It comes into its own with 3 (or more) years bottle age and merits decanting to reveal its full potential.