The wines of Marie-Lise and Thomas Batardiere have crossed my path quite a few times in social media. This may also be due to the fact that one simply remembers these labels particularly well. Thomas Batardiere, who had no background in winemaking, only started his own winery in 2012 with about two hectares of Chenin Blanc vines. Whereby that is quite an exaggeration, because apart from the vines, there wasn’t much. No cellar, no winery, that came only afterwards. In the meantime, there are just under four hectares, which are being farmed biodynamically certified since 2015. The winery is located in the neighborhood of Richard Leroy, who became quite famous at the latest with the comic Les Ignorants by Etienne Davodeau. Just like Richard Leroy, Thomas Batardiere also makes a Chenin from the Les Noëls de Montbenault site. But instead of trying that, we taste a bottle of Les Cocus today. Nevertheless, it must be said that it is quite difficult to get hold of the wines of Thomas Batardiere. Not as difficult as with Leroy perhaps, where I have not yet managed to find a bottle for a rate I am willing to pay, but you have to click quickly anyway. Fortunately, I was a fast enough clicker in the shop of Alex Zuelch. I’m pretty thankful that there are retailers where something like this is still possible. Of course, the 35 euros I paid is also a lot of money for a bottle of wine, but firstly, that is quite certainly far away from what I would have to pay on the secondary market, which the Swabian in me does not want to do at all, and secondly, compared against where the asking prices of most GGs have gone recently, this is still quite humane. The Chenin Blanc grapes for the Les Cocus come from a small parcel with just over half a hectare of around 60-year-old vines, which stand on slate soil. The wine is first aged in used wood and then in stainless steel tanks.
Given the fact that with such a bottle of wine quite a whole lot of anticipation accumulates, the wine and I have a pretty disastrous start. The first time I smell into the glass, I ask myself only very carefully and then more and more certain whether the bottle is flawed. Not directly corky, but somehow not okay. In my mind I’m already sorting out what else I would like to drink, because a second bottle I do not have of course. But as I have become more and more sure that this is gone, so this security disappears with more oxygen very slowly again. It gradually developes puffed cereal, popcorn, some caramel and then more and more stone. The caramel then disappears again, the popcorn becomes less, but the stone remains. If you really look for it, there’s a bit of citrus too, but fruity it’s not. I’m still unsure. Meanwhile, on the tongue, a mix of barren rock and homey butteriness makes itself known. The acidity more in the background, a bit of apple, a bit of citrus and actually surprising length. But somehow, even there, it still doesn’t seem like what I would think it should be. And then there’s the write about it or not dilemma again. The empty glass smells quite normal, no hint of cork taint to be smelled. Each newly poured test sip, I just can’t leave it alone, smells a bit wrong first in always a different way and then becomes more and more exciting. So I do not want to judge and actually drink it and decide for a night in the refrigerator. There is hope for improvement after all.
We had some, also quite strong changes overnight the last weeks with different wines. However, I’ve never had it like this before. This is actually a different wine the next day. Super minerally, tight, citrusy, with no faulty notes at all. The puffed grain is now more nutty, there’s a bit of yellow, mirabelle or something, and there’s a lot more pull on the tongue. The buttery notes are completely gone too. Taut, cool and with an astonishing amount of structure at the back, this pulls along the palate. It’s crazy that the wine tastes like this now, when I had really already mentally given up for the first five minutes. This is so lively, so full of energy now. The mineral stoniness is really great. Even on the first night you could taste it for a long time, but there’s a lot more of it now too. I am once again at a loss. That I am smelling strange things for one evening that may not be there, that may happen sometimes. But that we both perceive it in exactly the same way and that what we perceived was then not there at all, is then rather unlikely. And that its now only tasting nice because we want such a rare bottle to taste nice is also hard to believe. Maybe me alone would do so, the better half however is rather merciless. Of course, it could still be that the bottle really has a very small quirk, and the wine from a perfect bottle would sing even more. But as it is now on the second evening, it’s great. Really great. And that’s enough for me to be happy.