In the Pursuit of Minerality

As people in the field of wine, we are beyond fortunate to continually taste new wines on a very regular basis. (Fun fact, a perk of our team is the joy of an inclusive glass of wine with every shift!) Have you ever had a moment where you’re tasting something, and upon your brain catching up with your palette, the epiphany of what you tasted suddenly sinks in? This is our experience with Boudignon’s wines, each and everyone of them. You won’t know what hit you. 

Let us introduce Thibaud Boudignon–pronounced “Tibo Boh-din-yon.” People in the wine world are talking A LOT about Boudignon. And even if those in the French wine industry are doing their best to not give away their secrets, the wine lists touting Boudignon’s wines from over a dozen French 3-star Michelin restaurants certainly speak volumes. His wines have become so lauded in the past few years that some have started referring to him as the “Savior of Savennieres.”

There’s no other way to put it: Boudignon’s wines took us by surprise. The wines are often compared to Premier Cru and Grand Cru Burgundy–an enormous compliment for a young winemaker. But to be honest, we really think these wines are in a category of their own. No one else is making Chenin that exudes this much minerality, this much verve, this much… depth. It’s a bit like that friend who takes you months, even years to get to know as they hold their secrets very close. Boudignon’s wines are worth taking the time to get to know, whether it’s allowing yourself a moment to acquaint yourself with it at your table, or rediscovering them after time in your cellar. 

On a personal level, Thibaud Boudignon is a humble farmer doing what he’s truly passionate about. Formerly of Château Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux, the historic Chateau Soucherie in Anjou, and he’s also had gigs in Burgundy and Australia, and while he boasts a daunting resume he carries it with a rather uncommon humility. Following in his vigneron grandfather's footsteps, hearing Boudignon speak about his wines, you sense a commitment to excellence, and a certain reverence perhaps imbued from this generational passing down of knowledge. It’s as if he was speaking fondly of his one true love, and we adore listening to him speak  about his wines. 

While his Savennières and Anjou Blanc are what put him on the map, his Rosé de Loire keeps us coming back for more every single vintage. Made mostly from Cabernet Franc and a touch of the lesser-known Loire-native variety Grolleau, this rosé is pure magic. Our team can’t keep it on the shelf (partially because we’re taking it home for ourselves!!) 

 “Our goal is not to have a fashionable rosé, but a real rosé… It’s a wine that you want to share - it’s not a complicated wine, but a wine that gives you pleasure.” 

We couldn’t agree more. 

Pronounced “saw-ven-yair”– one of the most classic places in France to produce wine. Long known for its Chenin Blancs made into both sweet and dry wine, Savennières has a lengthy history of production which began with none other than the Cistercian monks. (We owe so much to the monks when it comes to wine!) The first plantings in this region were specifically during the year 1130 on the plot known today as Roche-aux-Moines, aka “the monks’ rocks.” Boudignon’s newest wine–Savennières 'Le Vigne Cendree' 2018–comes from the base of this historic vineyard site. In fact, the miniscule plot had been left to grow wild, and Thibaud seeing its significance, opted to painstakingly recover it by planting new vines in 2014! With the history and grandeur of ‘Clos Vougeot’ or ‘Echezeaux’ of Burgundy, 'Le Vigne Cendree' is one of the Grand Crus of the Loire Valley, and the price tags are only two digits! 

The vineyard site of Clos de Hutte exhibits clairvoyance on Thibauds part as well. The ancient religious site, spanning just 7 hectares, was planted in 2011 with a highly diverse selection of massale from top domaines. The expression of this wine is slightly more subtle and lighter than what one tends to expect from Savennières. Tension, acid, texture and weight, while delicately balanced, are somehow all allowed their own performance in this exquisite wine-  with each exhibition deserving of a standing ovation. While still a relatively young wine, we cannot wait to see how it expresses after being given a few years to age in the bottle. Ask Kevin how he feels about this wine and his excitement is palpable. “This is one of the best white wines available on the market right now,” he says, “The first time I tried it I was truly taken aback.” 

When tasting any wine from the hands of Boudignon, it is clear these wines speak of place. There is a purity about them that is almost unabashedly forward. For him, minerality is of utmost importance. While other winemakers seek to harvest early to ensure ripping acidity in the fruit, he chooses to let the fruit ripen longer– allowing it to showcase the minerality present in Anjou’s terroir. Hearing him speak of the schist and sand in the soils reminds us of a painter inspired by a bouquet of flowers, or a chef speaking excitedly of a plan for a new dish. Boudignon seemingly has one major objective in mind–to be in the service of minerality. 

“I don’t want the wine necessarily to be impressive on the table, I want the wine to keep the mouth fresh, to make me want to drink and want to eat.” 

For the serious Burgundy collectors amidst us, collectors of age-worthy white wines, or those on the ongoing quest to snatch up allocated wines we have the pleasure of offering, don’t miss this opportunity. Having just turned 40 years old, Boudignon’s wines are on the rise and they will be more difficult with each vintage to procure. Heed our advice and don’t sleep on one of the most talented winemakers on this beautiful planet. 

by Brittany Marsh - the Cru - HART & CRU