Nicolas Joly is a French winegrower in the Loire wine region, and one of the pioneers and leading personalities of the biodynamic wine movement. At the time he took over the family estate, Joly was sceptical about modern agriculture and the effect it had on nature. He encountered a book on biodynamic farming and took an active interest in the ideas found there, and from 1980 started to experiment with them in his wine estate. From 1981, the estate’s top wine Clos de la Coulée de Serrant has been made biodynamically, and from 1984 the estate’s entire range has been produced biodynamically. Coulée de Serrant is among the very few single vineyards monopole to be granted its own AOC; others include Romanée-Conti, La Tâche, and Château-Grillet. Joly has later written extensively on biodynamic wine production, and has served as an inspiration to many other wine producers who have converted to biodynamic practices. His biodynamic convictions also means that Joly disapproves of the label “winemaker” to the extent that his business card is reported to read “Nicolas Joly, Gérant de la Société, Nature assistant and not a winemaker”.
Picked over a period of three weeks and in four passages, yielding only 18 hectoliters per hectare, the intensely golden-colored 2012 Clos de la Coulée de Serrant offers a ripe and concentrated stone fruit aroma with pancake, pastry and nutty as well as smoky and flinty notes of crushed shale rocks. With more air, even floral notes get on their way. Although the summer was terribly dry, the 2012 reveals some botrytis influence on both nose and palate, the latter is rich yet fine and elegant, with ripe and smooth acidity but fine tannins giving structure and tension. The wine is already nicely matured, and although it is rich and intense, it doesn’t have the dimension and power of the 2019 that I tasted in the same flight. 14% alcohol. Tasted in May 2021. [94 Points, Stephan Reinhardt – October 2021, robertparker.com]