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Patrick Baudouin is one of the leading producers of sweet white wines in the Loire. He makes sensational wines from his three terroirs of the Coteaux du Layon: Chaudefonds sur Layon, Saint Aubin de Luigné and Rochefort sur Loire.
Coteaux du Layon is a region of the Loire Valley famous for its sweet wines produced from Chenin Blanc grapes that have been affected by the wonderful "noble rot". This is a fungus called Botrytis cinerea that attacks ripe grapes, concentrating them into sweet, shriveled berries that have the ability to produce complex and exciting wines.
Patrick harvests from early October to late November, making successive passes through the vineyards, visiting each plot four to six times and selecting only those grapes that are ready. He does not chaptalize (add sugar), although this is allowed in the appellation. The ageing is long, lasting about 18 months.
He makes several cuvées, depending on the vintage. When working with botrytis, one must take into account another level of variability of the vintage: some years, the conditions are much more favorable to the development of this benign fungus than others.
But Baudouin doesn't just make sweet wines: the two dry whites and the red tasted here were also very impressive.