Savennières Clos du Papillon
100% Chenin Blanc. The Clos du Papillon is one of the three most celebrated coulées or small ravine-like valleys in Savennières; it and La Roche Aux Moines and La Coulée de Serrant are in essence the grands crus of the appellation. Papillon is nearly a monopole for Closel, shared only with Baumard. it lies mid-slope with full south-southeast exposure that promotes full ripening; proximity to the river promotes the development of botrytis (the fermentation of this musky, earthy sweetness to dryness gives Savennières much of its typical intensity). The sandy, clay-based soil is rich in schist and volcanic stones: the top layer is light and shallow, allowing optimal drainage and forcing the roots deep into the bedrock. The vines range from 20 to 70 years old with extremely low yields of about 20 hectoliters per hectare.
Like the rest of the Closel estate, this venerable vineyard is farmed biodynamically and harvested manually. Unlike the rest, it is harvested in at least two stages--the first being its younger vines, at the same time as the earlier-ripening Jalousie parcels and thus free of botrytis, and the second being its older vines about 10 days later with quite a lot of botrytis. The fruit is whole-cluster pressed, unlike the other Closel wines; the juice is fermented with native yeasts to almost complete dryness. The earlier- and later-harvested lots are vinified and aged on their lees separately for a year in used 400-liter oak barrels. They are then blended, held a few months in vats, dosed with a small amount of sulfur for the first time and then bottled. Clos du Papillon is the crown jewel of Closel, a structured and serious Chenin Blanc meant for aging.