Vouvray Les Promenards 2020, Mathieu Cosme

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Situated on the gently rolling hills of the deuxième côte, Les Promenards comes from vines planted by Mathieu Cosme's grandfather. Mineral and taught, Les Promenards is fermented by indigenous yeasts in 400L French oak barrels, then aged in stainless steel tanks for 8 months before bottling.

This wine brings a compelling combination of tart fruit and mineral notes, along with textbook Chenin Blanc texture. Perhaps surprisingly for a winemaker coming from Huet—a producer famed for their rounded rich style of Chenin, Mathieu Cosme's "Les Promenards" is very dry and racy, focusing on the bracing acidity from Chenin Blanc and emphasizing the intense minerality from the vineyards so close to the river. Farming with horse and plough, vinifying with native yeasts and aging in stainless steel, delivers a wine of incredible transparency. Pair it with a dozen or two raw oysters with a sprinkle of Meyer lemon.

About the Winery

While in enology school in his home region of Vouvray, Mathieu Cosme learned about biodynamics from some of the foremost leaders in France, including Christian Chaussard and through an apprenticeship he won at Domaine Huet.

After completing his studies, in 2005 Cosme returned to his family estate in Vouvray (which is part of Loire Valley’s protected Unesco World Heritage site) and, as the fifth generation successor, began implementing organic and biodynamics in stages, starting with the lunar calendar.  He gained organic certification in 2014.

In addition to natural farming, Cosme harvests as late as possible, allowing the fruit to develop thicker skins and thus, more complexity. He feels the reward is worth the weather-related risk that comes with longer exposure to the elements. Also with such astute attention in the vineyard, Cosme is able to monitor acidity and obtain true balance at harvest. In the oldest lots—some 80 years old—he lessens soil impaction by working the vineyards with a horse-drawn plow, which as a former rugby player, he is particularly adept at. 

Tuffeau, an ancient chalky limestone dating back 90 million years to the Turuonian prehistoric era, composes most of the rocky limestone slopes of his estate. At the top of his southeast-exposed slopes is more Silex, or flinty soil, where the Chenin vines grow for Le Fines Bulles, his sparkling wine.