Wine critics can be creatures of habit and it’s always interesting when a new wine manages to break the mould and gain recognition for new regions or styles.
It’s especially interesting when you have been a firm fan of the producer for several years (before the wines were first bottled!); as such we were thrilled to see Château de Plaisance take one of the coveted ‘Top 100’ spots in the Wine Spectator list this year. Winemaker Vanessa scooped the accolade for her Ronceray 2021 – the very first Anjou blanc to be recognised on this list.
Wine Spectator has been releasing its Top 100 list since 1988. It’s the editors’ choice of the ‘most exciting’ wines that have been tried throughout the year, and while it has a primarily American audience, it’s an internationally-recognised honour to be included.
We were excited by the Ronceray when we first tasted it with Vanessa in France and were thrilled to bring in her first release. The name ‘Ronceray’ refers to the abbey that once owned Quarts de Chaume, and it has become a name that all producers making dry wine here intend to use on a communal basis, at least until Quarts de Chaume can legally exist in this dry guise, making Vanessa’s entry into the Top 100 even more significant.
This super site so prized for years as a source for sweet Chenin is having a marvellous re-invention as an exciting spot for producing Chenin in its dry form. The results are sublime and this first vintage for Vanessa from some lovely old vines is a triumph. At once reassuringly textured with ample feel and breadth – but dry as a bone and with a lovely tight line of brisk freshness running right through it. Soft, happy and desperately moreish. This is a lovely ‘step-up’ in complexity and intensity from her delicious Anjou Blanc.
Shortly after receiving the news that her wine had been selected for the Top 100, Vanessa was off to the Élysée, for a tasting with Emmanuel Macron, president of France. You can see the video here, on the Château de Plaisance Instagram page.
Congratulations to Vanessa and the team for a whirlwind week of achievements!