Domaine des Baumard
Loire Valley, France
Domaine des Baumard’s masterful wines span a range that is highly unusual in France. More specifically, Baumard is recognized for producing some of the most extraordinary dry white wines in the Loire and in France, namely endlessly nuanced Chenin Blanc from Savennieres. And Baumard is the single most famous producer of Quarts de Chaume, the greatest appellation for sweet wines in the Loire Valley and an appellation that has been recognized for its special quality over 1,000 years. The wines, especially today, are a study in purity and nuance. No oak is used in their vinification or aging, and gentle, precise care is the guiding philosophy in the vineyard and the winery. If you take the time to pay attention, you will be left speechless.
The property has been in the Baumard family since 1634, but it was reconstituted and improved by Jean Baumard in the mid-1950s, notably with important vineyard acquisitions in Savennieres and Quarts de Chaumes. Jean was a key figure in the history of the Loire Valley’s wine industry in the 20th century. Professor of viticulture and oenology in Angers from 1955-1970, he later became head of several viticultural associations, and even subsequently continued as an influential voice in the region on viticultural and production matters.
The estate itself is situated right in the heart of the Anjou, in the town of Rochefort-Sur-Loire, just south of the town of Savennières, arguably the greatest appellation for Chenin Blanc in the world (and inarguably home of the wines with the greatest aging potential). Since 1992 the estate has been run with meticulous care by Jean’s son, Florent, whose soft-spoken and gentle manner belie the extraordinary wines he makes.
The estate holdings are in Savennières, from where Florent produces several great bottlings; Coteaux du Layon, from where several long-lived and intense sweet wines are made, including Quarts de Chaume; and various other areas from which some outstanding Crémant de Loire is produced, and a very small amount of red wine, a Cabernet based Anjou.
Also worth noting, with the 2005 vintage Baumard began bottling 100% of their production (excepting Crémant) with Stelvin closures, becoming one of the pioneers of this technology in France.
Domaine des Baumard produces some of the finest examples of Savennières, and Jean Baumard and now his son, Florent, are universally regarded as the finest winemakers in the appellation. Their wines are among the most unique and rewarding in the world: dry whites of intense concentration, perfume, and longevity.
If Savennières produces some of the most compelling dry white wines in the world, the Clos du Papillon plot within Savennières , so named for its butterfly shape, concentrates and magnifies all the characteristics of this small, distinct appellation. Baumard is the largest owner of this vineyard, with the best holdings, and the wines display a captivating combination of ripe orchard fruit, floral, and mineral notes, within a structure able to age decades.
The dramatically beautiful Quarts de Chaume appellation produces some of the great sweet wines of the world, Baumard's chiefly among them. Truly the "Grand Cru" site of the Loire Valley.
Florent Baumard took over running the family domain in 1987, and has continued building on the principles his father Jean established in establishing the domaine as a leading producer.