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DOMAINE DES BAUMARD

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Quarts de Chaume

The sweet wines of Domaine des Baumard are from vineyards planted along the Layon river, which flows northwest into the Loire.  The perfectly exposed vineyards in the appellation Côteaux du Layon allow the Chenin Blanc grape to ripen perfectly in most years, often enriched by the development of botryitis. For the production of sweet wine, Florent Baumard prefers to harvest as late as the vintage weather permits, hoping for plenty of botryitis.  The grapes are harvested in successive passes or ‘tries’ through the vineyard, and any unsatisfactory fruit is eliminated.  The grapes are pressed quickly using a pneumatic press and the must fermented under temperature control.  Aging is done strictly without oak to preserve the elements of fruit and terroir.  The magnificent Quarts de Chaume is a fascinating wine, with a compelling intensity and authority of site which informs each vintage.  Always long-lived, in great vintages this wine can be almost immortal, improving for decades. 

There are around 45 hectares of vine in production of Quarts de Chaume, of which Domaine des Baumard owns 6. The vines are planted on about 6 different soil types, including schist, quartz, rhyolite and spilite. Florent employs a viticultural technique known as vignes hautes et larges that is unique in the region - he uses high training wires (over 2 meters) in order to maintain a large surface area of foliage and avoid the need for topping off the shoots. Rows in the vineyard are alternately ploughed and grassed, helping to maintain the soil's microscopic fauna and avoid soil compression from tractors and other heavy machinery. The harvest is manual, and the fruit is transported in small plastic cages to minimize damage.

Florent recommends serving Quarts de Chaume as an apertif with foie gras, rillette canapes or chicken liver, blue cheeses such as Roquefort and Gorgonzola, and 'white desserts,' such as poached pears or peaches with creme anglaise.

 

   
Quarts de Chaume bottle