Eric Morgat knew exactly what he wanted. Born into a family that worked the rugged, slate soils of Anjou for more than two centuries, Eric wanted to follow on those footsteps, but in his own way. He wasn’t going to be content to be an employee working under contract for a wealthy landowner; he was going to do it for himself. So in 1995 at the precocious age of 25 years old, Eric created his own domaine, the Domaine Eric Morgat, in the Anjou’s high-rent area of Savennières. And he hasn’t looked back since.
Today Eric’s domaine boasts nearly 15 acres of prime Savennières real estate and has been certified organic since 2007. Savennières is an appellation whose prestige far exceeds its small size. On the north bank of the Loire’s southeast-facing schist and sandstone slopes, the vineyards of Savennières are protected from most storms. Chenin Blanc is the dominant grape, and the marine influence fosters the cultivation of excellent dry white wines.
We’ve always found a kinship between Eric’s Savennières and stony, mineral examples of Grand Cru White Burgundy. It’s the combination of plump ripe fruit and a salty, high acid and wet-stone flavors that reminds us of the pinnacle of white wine.
Eric’s “Fidès” bottling is an assemblage of four of the most beautiful terroirs in Savennières. First is a small parcel of “Roches aux Moines,” long considered a Grand Cru site that resides on a hill of rugged green schist. Second is the 3-acre “Le Clos Ferrand,” where Morgat has planted a “nursery” of 37 ancient varieties of Chenin Blanc. Third is the 2.5-acre “La Pierre Bécherelle,” a walled parcel where the soils are a blend of sandstone and schist. Fourth is the first vineyard Eric ever planted, the 5-acre “L’Enclos” vineyard. “Fidès” is so named to imply a noble, monastic austerity. The wine is powerful, rich, and stony — truly one of the finest examples of Savennières we’ve ever tasted.
The 2013 “Fidès” is brilliant golden to the edge, infused with pungent aromas of citrus fruits, nectarine, white peach, and flint smoke. Rich, weighty, and almost tannic on the palate, the ripe apple/pear/honey opulence is brightened by a lemon-rind vibrancy and wet-stone crunch.
Fabulously mineral and impressive for its length and persistence, like all the cool vintages of this world-class Chenin Blanc, this 2013 is drinking beautifully now after a few years of bottle age and will continue to add weight and complexity over the next two decades.
Recently by-the-glass at one of America’s finest restaurants, Per Se, and 93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. $52 on release. Half a pallet — or 25 cases — has been earmarked for WineAccess on today’s Direct Import at $45. Shipping included on 4.