Most people’s New Year’s resolutions centre on giving up or reducing what they drink. I, on the other hand, am changing what I drink and focusing on new wines from areas which are outside my comfort zone. Last year I was drinking Bordeaux, a lot of wonderful Spanish wines and some very interesting new rums.
So this month I would like to introduce you to wines from the Loire region of France, a wine region which has a huge range of whites in a variety of styles, ranging from crisp and refreshing, through rich and oak-influenced or fine and mineral, up to sweet and decadent; as well as many reds, ranging from light gentle wines with raspberry fruits just perfect for summer drinking, to structured wines that demand years in the cellar in order to show their true worth. And we cannot forget the rose wines which are currently my favourite.
The grapes are the key; Melon de Bourgogne is almost unique to the region, Sauvignon Blanc is king, Chenin Blanc was perfected here and Cabernet Franc demonstrates how minor grape varietals can produce great wine.
Here is a quick description of the main wine areas in the Loire with an example of those wines which are available to you from this site and in our many stores.
This wine is produced more than any other wine in the Loire region. Made from the melon de Bourgogne grape, this is the perfect wine to partner seafood. The tastiest come from Servre-et-Maine.
L’Echany Muscadet Sevre Et Maine-Complex, with floral, minty and exotic fruit notes, round and well-balanced on the palate, bringing out fruit and floral notes on the finish.
8.83 View this wine
The heartland of the loire known for its white, red and rose wines; most importantly Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc.
Chateau de Montgueret Saumur- a great chenin blanc, bright yellow in colour with hints of lime. Lively and sweet on the nose; on the palate it is dry elegant and fresh.
8.13 View this wine
Champteloup Cabernet D’Anjou- a rose blend of Cabernet Franc, Grolleau and Chenin Blanc; One of my favourite wines. Quite powerful and generous with red berries, floral notes developing into lime blossom notes. A subtle and fresh wine, well – balanced with a harmonious, fresh and pleasant finish.
8.22 View this wine
Chateau de Montgueret Rose De Loire- Again a great Rose blend but with at least 30% Cabernet Franc, slightly sweet with lots of berries. Slight touch of acidity brings out the best in this wine.
8.13 View this wine
Saumur Rouge- 100% Cabernet Franc. A wonderfully rich red, from the heart of the Loire Valley. With a bouquet of raspberries and blackcurrants. The soft, fruity palate is supported by elegant tannins making for remarkably versatile easy drinking.
Saumur Champigny- This wine comes from a walled vineyard that harbours the magnificent Chateau de Varrains in the heart of the Saumur Champigny appellation. The wine is made from the 100% Cabernet Franc. After a long maceration period to extract colour and tannins from the grape skins, the wine is then matured in large oak casks for a period of 1 year in the Chateau’s magnificent cellars. The dark ruby colour beautifully reflects the characteristics typical of its terroir. This is a wine of red fruit aromas and a slightly wood bouquet with elegance and balance on the palate.
This region is known for these two classic wines; the white Vouvray (Chenin Blanc) and the great red Chinon (Cabernet franc)
Calvet Vouvray- Expressive, floral and ripe fruit notes (citrus fruit, quince), veering towards honeyed notes after a few months. On the palate it is fresh on the attack, very round and quite full on the palate. Good balance of sugar and acidity. Long finish, again with notes of honey and dried fruit.
Dilection Sauvion 2009- Very dense, garnet with ruby highlights and a complex bouquet of ripe red fruits (raspberry) and stone fruit (black cherry) mixed with subtly spicy flavours and a strong woody quality. On the palate it is full and generous developing into vanilla, liquorice and toasted almonds.
Definitely the most famous wine area in the Loire region, producing two classical wines made with the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Sancerre deliciously pungent wine with an herbaceous bouquet with gooseberry backed with a refreshing acidity. Pouilly Fume is a wine that shares a distinct similarity to Sancerre but is usually fuller, perfumed, and firmer with more mineral qualities due to the limestone soils the vineyards are on.
La Chenaye Sancerre- On the nose, it is expressive, with floral and fruity notes; on the Palate: Fresh, really fleshy and full-bodied with typical elegant gooseberry and green fruit, classic elegance with a long finish.
17.47 View this wine
Les Martinieres Pouilly Fume- full of expression, with floral notes; Fresh on the attack, full-bodied and fleshy, it displays the typical characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc. Good length. Classical elegance.
14.32 View this wine
We also have the Fildefere range of Vin de Pays from the region great wines available in all of our stores.
For more information on our wines check out the fine Wines Wine Master on facebook (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fine-Wines-Wine-Master). And remember if you are not sure about what to choose ask one of our staff to assist you!