Episode 394 of I’ll Drink to That! was released recently, and it features Clement Baraut of the eponymous Domaine in Anjou, within the Loire Valley of France.
A friend once told me that Chenin Blanc is humidity for the soul, and I think I know what she was trying to get at. There is something thirst quenching and refreshing about a good dry Chenin Blanc, but there is also something untamed in there as well. A profundity that would rather not reveal everything just yet. What’s funny to realize, after listening to this interview, is how lucky we have it. As Clement Baraut makes clear, a dry Chenin Blanc with no botrytis – of the type that is so popular now – is an invention of our own era. As recently as a few decades ago, we would not have found such a wine in Savennieres. This revelation is almost startling, especially when you consider how prevalent dry Chenin is today. And this is not the only thing which Clement says that might have you rethinking your assumptions. This is someone who has thought deeply about what he has experienced first hand over several decades in the Loire, and who is not afraid to ask disconcerting questions. Does the flower feel pain when we pluck it? Clement thinks it does, and he is not someone applying for a poetic license, but rather a farmer who is integrating his beliefs about plant communication into his work. Best of all, Clement seems as amazed about all of this as the next person. This isn’t the text of a delivered sermon, but rather the voice of someone who has touched on that untamed quality and found it exhilarating.
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I’ll Drink to That is the world’s most listened-to wine podcast, hosted by Levi Dalton. Levi has had a long career working as a sommelier in some of the most distinguished and acclaimed dining rooms in America. He has served wine to guests of Restaurant Daniel, Masa, and Alto, all in Manhattan. Levi has also contributed articles on wine themes to publications such as The Art of Eating, Wine & Spirits magazine, Bon Appetit online, and Eater NY. Check out his pictures on Instagram and follow him on Twitter: @leviopenswine.