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Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) Coteaux de Saumur 2009

Review: Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) 2009    85/100
a review by Chip Dykstra (AKA Arctic Wolf)
Published on November 13, 2012

The Chenin Blanc is a very versatile white grape wine varietal which can produce wines of any level of sweetness from dry table wine to sweet dessert wine. These wines are generally recognized for their high level of acidity and for their long aging potential. The variety is commonly associated with the Loire Valley in France where the varietal has been grown for nearly 1300 years.

At the Château de Targé (in the Loire Valley) the Chenin Blanc grape varietal is harvested at three different maturity levels to produce three different wines. A hand-picked harvest of just ripe grapes is used for the Brut Blanc, over matured grapes are picked for the Fresnettes and sometimes, although not every year, grape clusters are allowed to Botrytize (noble rot) to concentrate their sweetness thanks to the famous fungus, (Botrytis Cinerea) to make Coteaux de Saumur dessert wines.

It is the Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) Coteaux de Saumur 2009 which is the subject of this review.

(If you wish to learn a little more about Botrytised wines my previous review for Hetszolo Tokaji Aszu 5 Puttonyos (2001) contains a more detailed explanation.)

In the Bottle  3.5/5

I think if I could get one universal message out to all wine producers, it would be to implore them to pay more attention to the bottle presentation. I understand that many wine connoisseurs are able to determine much about what they are about to purchase just by knowing the grape varietal, and the location where the wine is produced. However it is equally true that many persons who want to buy a nice table wine, have no clue about such things. A smart label with a brief description of the anticipated flavour profile would be most welcome to such consumers.

In the case of the Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) Coteaux de Saumur 2009. The minimalistic label really does not tell me anything at all. There is not a word about the botrytized grapes nor of the rich history of the Loire Valley and the Chenin Blanc Grape Varietal.

In the Glass 21.5/25

The wine displays a pale yellow straw colour in the glass with an initial nose which brings strong green apple and fresh peach aromas into the air. A honeyed sweetness is obvious, but there is also a nice spicy intensity about the nose which is appealing. As the glass rests, tart almost ripe green grapes, stronger apple notes and more spice rise into the breezes.

The scents and smells above the glass have a fresh vibrancy which implies youthfulness and a certain flamboyant character.

In the Mouth 43/50

This Chenin Blanc brings some zesty acidity forward which opens the palate to an onrush of fresh fruit (green apple and grape) complimented with a honey-like sweetness. Combined with the fresh fruit is on odd impression of bruised apple which oddly enough seems to work with the other flavour components. Some rye-like spiciness seems to evolve as I sip on the wine reinforcing my impressions on the nose of a youthful vibrant character. As I near the bottom of my glass it occurs to me that although the wine has a good amount of acidity and spiciness there is also a touch of plasticine and/or mineral oil flavour which seems temper the tartness and the experience is better for it.

In the Throat 13/15

The Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) Coteaux de Saumur 2009 exits with flavours of freshly sliced BC Golden Delicious yellow apples and tart green grapes. The tart exit flavours are complimented by a honey-like sweetness. The acidity present in the wine tends to cleanse the palate making this a nice wine to pair with soft foods like cheeses and sausage. The Mouth is left slightly dry which draws you to another sip.

My Final Impressions  4/5

I (and my friends of course) really enjoyed the Chateau de Targe (Chenin Blanc) Coteaux de Saumur 2009. The Wine is full of fresh fruit flavour and carries a bit of a spicy flamboyance through to the end of the taste experience. I also found my bottle had remarkable staying power tasting very nice a full two weeks after it had been opened. There is also enough acidity present that I think the wine would become even nicer after several years of storage in a cool wine cellar.

I paired this dessert wine with Spiced Gouda and Edam cheese as well as “port and fig’ sausage. The firm acidity, the fresh fruit and the light spiciness seems to me to be ideally suited to soft food pairings.

If you are interested in some comparative reviews, here is a link to all of my Dessert Wine Reviews!


Note: My Wine Scores are computed in the same manner as my scores for distilled spirits. This means that my total score out of 100 is generally lower than what you would see in popular wine rating magazines. (Those magazines appear to have a system which scores almost all wines at 85 points or more.)

My system which is described below and you may (loosely) interpret my scores as follows:

0-25     A wine with a rating this low would actually kill you.
26-49   Depending upon your fortitude you might actually survive this.
50 -59  You are safe to drink this…but you shouldn’t.
60-69   Substandard swill which you may offer to people you do not want to see again.
70-74    A mediocre wine which will excite no one.
75-79    You may begin to serve this to friends, still rather unexciting.
80-84    Enjoyment begins here.
85-89    Very good to excellent!
90-94    You may want to hoard this for yourself.
95-97.5 The Cream of the Crop
98+       I haven’t met this one yet…but I want to.

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