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A French White, 20 Years On

Prince Poniatowski Vouvray Clos Baudoin 1989
Bruce Sanderson
Posted: November 3, 2009

At a recent dinner in New York with friends, the four of us had an opportunity to enjoy a Chenin Blanc with some age. Trestle on Tenth, an Award of Excellence winner, had the Vouvray Clos Baudoin 1989 from former Loire producer Prince Poniatowski for a reasonable $52.

Over the past 25 years, I have occasionally come across Vouvrays from Poniatowski. (Shortly after moving to New York in 1990, I found the 1983 at a local wine shop. I think I paid less than $10 for a bottle.) The wines are usually solid, but not scintillating. Still, we were curious.

Clos Baudoin was Poniatowski’s top vineyard. He also made Vouvrays under the Aigle Blanc and Clos l’Avenir designations. By the late 1990s, with no heir and the property needing some upgrades, Poniatowski rented the vineyards (with an option to buy) to François Chidaine of the Montlouis Sur Loire appellation. Chidaine replanted any dead vines and then bought the estate outright in 2005.

The 1989 had a deep golden color and a complex bouquet of lanolin, honey, chamomile and green tea. It was off-dry, with tangy acidity, a touch of botrytis and a long, minerally finish. I gave it 90 points, non-blind.

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