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1990 Moulin Touchais
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- Closure: Cork
THE MOULIN TOUCHAIS COLLECTIONTHE EXTRAORDINARY SWEET WHITE WINES FROM THE LOIRE VALLEY
On the banks of the river Layon that threads its way through the gently rolling hills of the Loire Valley, exists one of the world’s largest and oldest single wine stocks. Miles of underground cellars contain a rare collection dating back to the 1800’s. Remarkable bottles, [many being over one hundred years old] are occasionally uncorked and more often than not the experience is incredible: for the wines are undiminished with the passing of a century - rather, they possess a vitality and elegance that is completely unexpected. These are the sweet Chenin Blanc wines from MOULIN TOUCHAIS - the sensory equivalent to ‘immortality’ on earth. Since 1787, the Moulin Touchais cellars together with the surrounding vineyards have been owned and managed by eight generations of the Touchais family. The vineyards are amongst the most famous in the Anjou area, lying in the heart of the Loire Valley in the Coteaux du Layon region.
Some twenty years ago, Nicks Wine Merchants introduced these extraordinary wines to Australia which were showered with exceptional reviews. PETER JOYCE, the then President of the International Wine and Food Society was so impressed with these wines that he awarded them a perfect score – something that he had never done before.
We visited the Estate in the late 1980’s and have fond memories of the wines and the vineyards. JOSEPH TOUCHAIS was the force behind Moulin Touchais, “...a man of few words, listening carefully, seldom in a hurry.” Joseph worked in the vineyards and winery "until the very last moment… and having his tasting at 11am of one or two bottles right out of the cellar, in order to‘freshen up his memory’ as he called this holy moment". In order to understand the meaning behind this comment, one has to appreciate the vast collection of wines that Joseph Touchais produced and cellared. Today, JEANMARIE TOUCHAIS, the youngest son, has taken over the operation in the vineyard assisted by ALEX WILBRENNINCK. The methods of viticulture and vinification have changed little over the years and are still based on the traditional values of low-yields, careful harvesting and meticulous winemaking; particularly during pressing and the long fermentation period. The grapes are hand-picked in several stages. In fact the real secret of the Moulin Touchais longevity and charming complexity results from this harvesting strategy: 20% of the grapes are picked 90 days after flowering while the fruit is still underripe and loaded with acidity, the other 80% is harvested late (as of one hundred & twenty days after flowering) generally yielding fruit with very high sugar levels and concentrated flavours. High acidity and high sugar levels ultimately determine Moulin Touchais’ opulent style: smooth and elegant. Only the healthiest grapes are chosen; the pips are removed and the must is clarified by decanting before beginning the slow fermentation process which is spread over several weeks. The wine is bottled early; between the end of February and early March following the harvest. Only the best vintages will leave the cellars under the Moulin Touchais name after a minimum of ten years cellarage. Indeed, a good ‘Anjou’ will only begin to indicate its qualities after a decade. (One anecdote from a local has it that his parents celebrated their wedding in 1972 by opening a bottle of their 1872 Moulin Touchais!) With each bottle the Estate strives for perfection without pretention. The Chenin Blanc grape, brought to an overripe stage but unaffected by the noble rot due to the geographic situation of the area give Moulin Touchais that outstanding freshness and typically fine, beautifully balanced acidity which lingers on the lips and on the palate.
The wines of Moulin Touchais begin reaching their peak after twenty years, and many of the great vintages will take much longer. Vintages such as the 1953, 1959, 1964, 1969 are still maturing. The 1945, 1947 and 1949 have become classics. Moulin Touchais are the only winemakers in the world who give a CENTURY LONG GUARANTEE ON THE LONGEVITY OF THEIR WINES (subject to being kept under optimal cellar conditions). Bottles may show some sediment or deposit. One should understand this is due to the traditional filtration process, the main aim being to protect the colour, the bouquet and the depth of flavour of the wine.
Tasting Notes: Fourteen years old, and the colour has deepened to a lemon gold with a brilliant green hue. The nose again is relatively closed, but reveals notes of spice and acacia blossom. The richness of the palate is evident, and one can detect an early trend emerging in these wines as they age. There are hints of toffee over apricot, quince, spice and lemon. The fruit characteristics seem to be growing at this point, with flavours of honeycomb, lemon and spice emerging. Again, the duality between elegance and persistence is apparent. Clean acid finish. Very persistent aftertaste of lemon, honey and quince.
Cellar 20+ years.