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August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Robin Garr » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:56 am

This month's topic needs no introduction to most WLDGers: We're looking at the Loire, all of the Loire, comparing and contrasting its wonderful wines with their minerality and sense of place. Whites, mostly, a lot of Chenin Blanc and a lot of Sauvignon Blanc and some Melon from Muscadet; its rarer but delicious reds, Pinot Noir and Gamay and more. Let's go to the Loire and drink up!
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Thu Aug 01, 2019 1:52 pm

I`m in! Lots in the cellar including some Huet and Baudry.
Think Tim will be active this month!
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Tim York » Fri Aug 02, 2019 7:34 am

I will indeed be opening bottles from the Loire valley this month, as I do routinely nearly every month.

There are three quite distinct sub-regions making up the Loire valley from a wine viewpoint, namely the Pays Nantais where Muscadet is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape, Anjou/Touraine where Chenin blanc rules for whites of different sweetness degrees and Cabernet franc for reds and le Centre, i.e. the upper Loire valley and tributaries where Sauvignon blanc dominates for whites and Pinot noir is making great progress in reds. Apart from those main grape varieties, Gamay crops up nearly everywhere even as far upstream as Roanne and beyond, Côt (AKA Malbec) is making progress particularly in Touraine, Pineau d'Aunis is making some very original lightish reds in northern Touraine and Romorantin is contributing very interesting whites in eastern Touraine especially at Cour Cheverny.

I'll try to open at least one example from each sub-region as well as one of the specials referred to in the previous sentence with the proviso that they are quite difficult to find here in Normandy.
Last edited by Tim York on Tue Aug 06, 2019 10:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:51 am

Tim York wrote:I'll try to open at least one example from each sub-region as well as one of the specials referred to in the previous sentence with the proviso that they are quite difficult to find here in Normandy.

Looking forward to your comments, Tim!
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Tim York » Sun Aug 04, 2019 10:00 am

Without thinking about this thread, I stretched for a bottle of Loire chenin last night to accompany a barbue fish and goat cheeses. This one comes from the very north of Touraine along the Le Loir tributary almost due north of Tours (see map of region http://technoresto.org/vdf/val_de_loire/index.html ). My TN dates from last autumn but this last bottle of my stash was just as good or even better with no signs yet of the expected fading.

2016 Domaine des Gauletteries Jasnières Le Tradition - France, Loire Valley, Jasnières (10/12/2018)
This bottle retains the charm and verve of the bottles consumed over a year ago. Leaning towards tendre rather than bone dry, full of citrus and other white fruit like peach, pear and apple, minerals, floral aromas, mouth-watering acidity and some backbone. I don't reckon that this wine has much ageing potential but why wait? Good+.
Posted from CellarTracker

As often when visiting a town, this time Cormeilles, I popped in yesterday to the local caviste to explore and came away with 5 bin end bottles, all but one from the Loire basin :D . I will try to open one of these this month , a red Reuilly made from PInot Noir (see on map a little blue blob to the east next to the Cher tributary).
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Aug 04, 2019 11:40 am

Great looking map Tim so thanks.
Chateau de Parnay red coming up!
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Tue Aug 06, 2019 8:50 pm

Just purchased the 2017 Chereau-Carre Muscadet but store out in the westend was pouring the 2016 :D

2016 Chereau-Carre Muscadet de Sevre et Main Sur Lie.

Nice light straw color, still had a hint of green. Green apple and lemon on the nose plus usual mineral tones. Not too complicated but great acidity and lemon lime. Store staff did not have much of an idea of the Loire Valley in the chat.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Tim York » Wed Aug 07, 2019 3:15 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Store staff did not have much of an idea of the Loire Valley in the chat.


That's a shame. How can they interest customers in a region if they know little about it?

Here is my latest from the region. It comes from one of the lesser known sub-regions of le Centre, the Sauvignon blanc territory. I was underwhelmed by this one but, in general, I enjoy these SB wines at an entry level for their characteristic fruit, minerality and crispness. Some producers, particularly in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, are asking well north of €30 for certain cuvées and I am mostly unconvinced by these with the exception of some mature ones from the two Cotat estates, which IMO show real class.

2017 Domaine Pellé Menetou-Salon - France, Loire Valley, Upper Loire, Menetou-Salon (8/5/2019)
I have had good experience of both whites and reds from this estate but this one was a bit bland. Medium bodied at most, showing soft white fruit with little of the varietally typical grapefruit and no feline piss and with discreet minerality acidity and backbone, it was a pleasant but unremarkable drink. Quite good.
Posted from CellarTracker

PS: Menetou-Salon appears in pink as a sort of westward appendix to Sancerre in the Centre part of the map http://technoresto.org/vdf/val_de_loire/index.html .
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Jenise » Wed Aug 07, 2019 5:34 pm

Had this, from a producer not previously familiar to me, at Bill Spohn's last weekend:

2017 Vincent Gaudry Sancerre Le Tournebride . Fantastic. A perfectly balanced Sancerre that epitomizes why Sancerre beats almost every other place on the planet at Sauv Blanc. Quoting Bill here: lovely varietal sauv blanc nose, clean and pure and not afflicted with either cat’s pee or gooseberries, two of the usual things detected from SB from other areas. Pale colour, hints of grapefruit in the nose and of peach on palate, and perfect levels of acidity, neither too angular nor too soft.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by win_fried » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:20 pm

TN: Bouvet Excellence - Cremant de Loire - NV This is a cuvee of 80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Chardonnay and hence should qualify for this thread. Nose has some yeast and lots of green apple. On the palate we find green tart apple and green hazelnuts. Finish is medium. Nice sparkler and good value. Good match for a Dukkah with bread and olive oil.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Robin Garr » Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:49 pm

Celebrating our 30th anniversary tomorrow with one of Mary's favorite wines (and mine too), an obscure Loire red from the Touraine ...

Puzelat-Bonhomme 2012 Touraine Pineau d'Aunis ($22.99)

It's a clear rosy red, not too dark, and it's holding up nicely after about five years of passive storage at cool room temperature. Aromas and flavors are consistent with our other tastings of 2010 through 2012 vintages over several years: Characteristic white pepper and violets dominant over a red-cherry back note, with tart acidity and stony minerality in a long finish; there's still a distinct edge of tannins, but it doesn't bother anyone. Good wine; rare, no longer made and not a long keeper. I doubt we'll ever taste another.
U.S. importer: LDM Wines, NYC, Louis/Dressner Selections.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Jenise » Fri Aug 09, 2019 6:52 pm

The first Sancerre I ever had was a Lucien Crochet, and it was mesmerizing. For that reason I may have had higher hopes for this than warranted.

2018 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rosé Pinot Noir
Dark pink rose color led me to expect more extracted flavors, which I didn't get, and be surprised by a little upfront floral sweetness ahead of the dry finish. Didn't telegraph pinot noir the way new world versions do, which could have been the fault of the glass (was at someone else's home, they don't have burg bowls). Excellent, but questionable value at $35.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Rahsaan » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:53 pm

Jenise wrote:The first Sancerre I ever had was a Lucien Crochet, and it was mesmerizing. For that reason I may have had higher hopes for this than warranted.

2018 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Pinot Rosé Pinot Noir
Dark pink rose color led me to expect more extracted flavors, which I didn't get, and be surprised by a little upfront floral sweetness ahead of the dry finish. Didn't telegraph pinot noir the way new world versions do, which could have been the fault of the glass (was at someone else's home, they don't have burg bowls). Excellent, but questionable value at $35.


How long ago was that first Crochet? I don't think it's ever possible to recapture the mesmerizing nature of those early wine experiences.

Of course as compensation, now we have deeper appreciation!
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Jenise » Sun Aug 11, 2019 1:53 pm

Rahsaan, you speak truth. That first Lucien was in the late 90's.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Tim York » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:31 am

IMO Loire sweeties from Chenin stand tall amongst the whole world's. They usually have a juicy acidity which keeps them from cloying unlike some Sauternes. Botrytis does not occur everywhere or in every vintage, but it's my guess from the taste profile that this 1996 saw some.

1996 Domaine Huet Vouvray Moelleux 1ère Trie Le Mont - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray (8/11/2019)
This is close to my ideal for a sweetie. It was orange coloured, mouth filling and long with complex fruit including peach and quince, a honeyed fragrance and touches of wax and varnish completed by an slightly toffeed undertow. What gives the wine outstanding balance is mouth-watering acidity which makes me want more and more. Alas my last bottle. Excellent.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Aug 14, 2019 11:57 am

Obviously well cellared Tim. I have some Huet 05 and 9 lurking in the cellar.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Jenise » Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:42 pm

Last bottle, Tim? I'm sad for you, and I agree about sweet Chenins. Huet's Cuvee Constance especially. I believe I still have one.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Tim York » Thu Aug 15, 2019 4:48 am

Jenise wrote:Last bottle, Tim? I'm sad for you, and I agree about sweet Chenins. Huet's Cuvee Constance especially. I believe I still have one.


Last bottle of 96 but I have a couple of bottles of Huet's Clos du Bourg moelleux, one 71 and one 89. I also have a couple of Vouvray Réserve from Foreau, one 89 and one 03. A few years ago I did a cull of 150 bottles of sweeties and semi-sweeties, which I was not finding an opportunity to open, but I held these few bottles back as well as a handful from other regions. At my present rate of consumption I have enough.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Aug 16, 2019 9:47 pm

I have been checking out the Loire Cab Franc selection in my cellar but found this Saumur-Champigny downtown so thought what the heck!

2013 Chateau de Parny Saumur-Champigny Le Clos.

Good price $22 Cdn, 12.5% alc, good natural cork. Solid producer imo.
Black currant color and no sign of bricking. Nice aromatic nose with violets, cherry, hint of oak underlays.
Initial entry thought is tad young still, good fruit balance, some tannins. "Has some earthy notes" from across the table. Some think of "green" with these CFs but I did not think so with this wine. Medium-bodied, raspberry on day 2 and still some herbal tones. Needed food so fixed up some pork tenderloin with a mushroom sauce. Cellar 3 yrs or so?
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Tim York » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:34 am

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:
2013 Chateau de Parny Saumur-Champigny Le Clos.

Good price $22 Cdn, 12.5% alc, good natural cork. Solid producer imo.
Black currant color and no sign of bricking. Nice aromatic nose with violets, cherry, hint of oak underlays.
Initial entry thought is tad young still, good fruit balance, some tannins. "Has some earthy notes" from across the table. Some think of "green" with these CFs but I did not think so with this wine. Medium-bodied, raspberry on day 2 and still some herbal tones. Needed food so fixed up some pork tenderloin with a mushroom sauce. Cellar 3 yrs or so?


Bob, in my limited experience, I have found that 2013 reds from the Loire were more inclined to show tart "green" and poivron flavours than in most other vintages. You seem to have been lucky with this one. The best Saumur-Chamigny is very ageworthy. I have one bottle left of a 1989 from Legrand, which should still be alive with that ethereal elegance, albeit slightly faded, of healthy 30 year old wine. However, I don't recommend that ageing for a 2013 :) .
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by kasey.dubler » Tue Aug 20, 2019 10:43 am

2009 La Grapperie Coteaux du Loir Adonis

So much fun... This still showed just a bit of spritz upon opening. On the nose this was a bit dirty, very peppery and a nice red fruit nose coming through. On the palate it was light and fun, with great depth. This was a perfect balance of fun and serious wine. Tasted with 3-4 other nice wines and this was almost every bodies favorite. From 75 year old vines. 100% Pineau d'Aunis organically grown with minimal to no sulfur added.

I was scared that at 10 years it would be past it's prime, but it was still lovely... Heading to the Loire in a few weeks, going to have to track down more of their wine
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Patchen Markell » Wed Aug 21, 2019 4:38 pm

I meant to post this a while ago, so details are now a little vague, but one of our favorite local restaurants came up with a six-pack of Olga Raffault 1989 Chinon "Les Picasses," apparently held back by the domaine until recently. Seemed in excellent condition, quite sauvage but not unpleasantly so, with still-fresh bright plum and cherry fruit transitioning into leafy earth. Very lively and long, mature but not even close to decline. (And at a price that, in NYC, would have bought me about 75ml of 93 Overnoy.) Yum!
cheers, Patchen
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Aug 21, 2019 5:34 pm

Patchen..great find there in NY.
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Re: August Wine Focus: Back to Basics with the Loire

by John S » Fri Aug 23, 2019 12:27 am

  • 2008 Domaine de la Robinière / Vincent Raimbault Vouvray Sec Bel Air - France, Loire Valley, Touraine, Vouvray (2019-08-22)
    I thought I might have left this basic vouvray in the cellar too long, but it was drinking very well now. A rotten fruit note from the age on the very nice nose, and a very dry finish with mainly citrus notes on the medium bodied but intense palate. Great QPR! (B+)
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