Continuing this summer’s Moulin Touchais tasting, Stig treated us to a new tasting, still under the auspices of the wine tasting club AuZone. This time around, the wines were older on average. Last time we tried wines from the 1990s + a 1949, this time around it was 1980s and older. A tumbnail sketch of Moulin Touchais: a sweet wine, but not really extremely sweet, produced from Chenin Blanc in the Coteaux du Layon appellation of central Loire in France, always sold with at least 10 years of age, the combination of grape variety and age makes the wine rather spicy, and many older vintages can often be found at reasonable prices. For more details, see my introduction to the previous Moulin Touchais tasting.
As usual, the wines were served blind.
Moulin Touchais 1985
Appearance: golden yellow
Nose: dried yellow fruit, fried apples, spice, arrack [note: a very Swedish aroma descriptor, think “dark rum” if you don’t have a clue and you’re not too far off], some saffron, and hints of a medicinal note.
Palate: more than medium bodied, sweet, quite spicy, fried and baked apples, balancing acidity (but not very high).
Developed and rather pleasant, but still a little clumsy for a Moulin Touchais and not too complex. The medicinal, almost solvent-like hints distrub me somewhat and make it appear less fresh than the other wines in the tasting. 87 p.
Votes: 0 best, 1 worst (me). I guessed 1980s, or perhaps the border between 1980s and 1990s.
Moulin Touchais 1981
Appearance: golden yellow, a little darker than 1985 and 1979.
Nose: dried yellow fruit, some hints of red berries, some honey (acacia honey?), spice, arrack, slightly aromatic, some liqueur, very light oxidative notes. Pleasant nose!
Palate: more than medium bodied, citrus, some tropical fruit, noticeable spice, good acidity, a hint of bitterness, good concentration of aromas, rather fresh and nuanced.
Good complexity, pleasant nose, but the bitterness is a bit of a minus. 90 p.
Votes: 0 best, 0 worst. Guessed 1980s.
Moulin Touchais 1979
Appearance: golden yellow
Nose: some nuts, discrete and mild spice, some dried yellow fruit. Not too strong a nose.
Palate: more than medium bodied, good concentration of aromas, various spices, honey, dried fruit, rather good acidity, very light bitterness, a bit short.
Rather fresh taste, comes across as a slightly warmer vintage than the 1981. Here I think there can be some bottle variation, because 1979 has performed better than this on some other occasions when I tasted it. 88 p.
Votes: 0 best, 4 worst. Guessed 1970s or 1980s.
Moulin Touchais 1976
Appearance: light golden yellow
Nose: zest, dried yellow fruit, spice with arrack and some pepper, some liquorice (lemon-flavoured liquorice), some flowery aromas. Elegant!
Palate: more than medium bodied, good concentration, citrus, spices including mint liquorice and pepper, high acidity, fresh finish.
Comes across as young in this company. Fresh and elegant, could improve with further cellaring. 92+ p.
Votes: 1 best, 2 worst. I guessed 1990s, and for a while I was wondering if it was the brilliant 1996 from the previous tasting that was back for a repeat performance, but I thought that the acidity wasn’t quite enough for that. This was the big surprise of the tasting by coming across as much younger than its actual age.
Moulin Touchais 1975
Appearance: golden yellow
Nose: dried fruit with a hint of red berries, spice, some honey, slightly nutty and with some oxidation notes (a bit more than the 1981). Pleasant nose.
Palate: more than medium bodied, noticably spicy, good concentration, baked apples, rather good acidity that comes across as higher in the aftertaste.
Approximately between 1981 and 1979 in style. 90 p.
Votes: 0 best, 2 worst. Guessed 1980s.
Moulin Touchais 1971
Appearance: dark golden yellow colour, some amber tinge, very slightly cloudy.
Nose: rather strong nutty notes, dried fruit, some red berries, mild spice, slightly flowery, some oxidiation notes (more than the 1975).
Palate: good concentration of aromas, very spicy, some nuts, balancing acidity, some red berries, winter apples, and the oxidation note is noticeable on the palate.
Very developed, would have benefited from some more acidity. 91 p.
Votes: 1 best, 1 worst. Guessed 1970s.
Moulin Touchais 1964
Appearance: light amber (darkest of the flight).
Nose: rather noticeable madeirised notes, hard toffee (the chocolate-free interior of a Daim bar), dried fruit, nuttiness with hazelnuts and walnuts, citrus, somewhat aromatic. Developed and elegant!
Palate: good concentration, quite spicy, a lot of toffee notes, red berries, some yellow apples and citrus, very high acidity that gives a fresh and spicy aftertaste.
Quite developed but very fresh and balanced. 94 p.
Votes: 5 best (including me), 0 worst. I guessed 1950s or 1960s. I consider this rather similar to the 1949 we tasted this summer, although this wine is lighter in colour. A difference is that everyone seemed to appreciate this wine, while the 1949 was appreciated by about half of those in the tasting, while the other half didn’t like it at all. It turned out that this 1964 bottle had been stored in a tropical climate in Equador for three years. So our dear host considered it something of a gamble to include this bottle in the lineup, and was quite pleased with how it showed. This clearly demonstrates how well these wines can take cellaring. Admittedly, this wine was the darkest and showed the strongest oxidative notes, but could handle such things with ease.
Moulin Touchais 1959
Appearance: slightly dark golden yellow, similar to the 1971.
Nose: some nuttiness with walnuts and almonds, quite spicy with arrack, some yellow fruit and citrus, some flowery notes, some mushroom. Rather pronounced oxidation notes and some volatile acidity, but not really madeirised in the same way as 1964.
Palate: good concentration, dried yellow fruit, quite spicy, good nuttiness, quite high acidity, fresh apply aftertaste.
Clearly developed, but fresh, very polished and harmonious. 93 p.
Votes: 3 best, 0 worst. I was able to figure out that this was the 1959 contributed by me, so I didn’t have to guess. Fascinating that this wine is so vibrant at 53 years of age!
Two of the bottles – 1976 and 1964 – had been stored by Stig in his cellar for over 20 years, five were recently purchased from the Swedish monopoly (where the Swedish importer Giertz always keeps several vintages available, currently ten of them!), and the 1959 came from my cellar.
The big surprise of the evening was that the 1976 came across as so young. This again demonstrates that it is easy to be 20 year off when guessing the age of a Moulin Touchais, since that was what I did. When I pointed this out I heard that there are actually rumours of people having been 100 years off, which is really an achievement… 🙂
These wines are truly long-lived and seem not too sensitive to storage conditions, but there is at least some bottle variation, also between older bottles in “regular” distribution. This is not really something to be surprised about, given their age and the variability of corks.
If I try to compare the degree of oxidative notes, and by that I primarily refer to nutty and madeirised notes, in the wines of this tasting, they line up like this:
- least: 1985, 1976
- some: 1981, 1975
- more: 1979, 1971, 1959
- most: 1964
Oxidation notes that haven’t completely taken over everything else in a wine, and that are balanced by a sufficiently high acidity, doesn’t have to be a problem at all in a sweet wine. This time I actually put my vote on the most oxidised as the best wine and one of the least oxidised as “the worst”.
The Swedish version of this post can be found here.