July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Dan Smothergill » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:10 pm

David Creighton wrote:its not only off the beaten track, its pretty confusing. i ended up in one town with no signs. pulled into a parking lot and hailed the first driver i saw. turned out to be a local originally from england. told me to follow him and he'd point out the correct road. then had to stop at the local post office to find the exact estate i was looking for. unlike other areas, there are no signs at intersections with the names of the producers. but i do like the wines.


Right. Once you get off the main road signs pretty much disappear. After convincing ourselves that we were finally on the right road for one winery we drove up and down several times without ever finding it. Then it was time for the long trip back to Tours. Any suggestions for a central place to stay so that Jasnieres would not so remote from other regions?
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Creighton » Fri Jul 15, 2011 4:46 pm

sorry, no ideas on that score. i drove from chinon and i think it was an hour plus. the region has an annual tasting in Le Mans; and a couple of producers go to Vitiloire in Tours at the end of may.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:32 am

If anyone doubts that Chenin based whites from Touraine and Anjou, even dry examples, are strong contenders for the title of of the world's greatest white wines, I rest my case on this Montlouis here and on the Jasnières from about a week ago, as well as on some rave worthy demi-sec and moelleux from Foreau and Huet consumed over recent years. To boot, they are mostly accessibly priced. For my palate, their only real rivals are Riesling from Germany, Alsace and Austria and the prices here seem to be creeping upwards, especially in Austria, Germany (for VdP) and Alsace (e.g. Trimabach CFE & CSH). Until premox struck, I would have included white Burgundy but, IMHO, bringing out their best qualities, except perhaps for Chablis, requires 10+ years ageing which is just too risky nowadays at the prices asked for for grands and 1ers crus. (Some people also complain of premox in Loire chenin but I have only experienced it in Savennières; a degree of nuttiness and deep colour is acceptable, even welcome, IMO). This one is a young example already showing beautifully.

Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Bournais 2008 - François Chidaine - Alc.13.5% - (€20). Colour was medium/pale yellow. The nose was beautifully mineral with citrus and white fruit touches and a rounder and darker undertow showing the beginnings of typical wax and quince. The palate was medium weight, superbly focussed, linear and delightfully racy with mouth-watering crisp acidity, complex minerality, fresh fruit slightly in the background, great nervous tension and a similar round, but not yet as well developed, undertow to that on the nose. In time, I am sure that this will gain in beeswax complexity and fullness but at the expense of exuberant raciness; 17.5/20.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Creighton » Mon Jul 18, 2011 11:56 am

i really love chenin as well - from dry to sweet and even sparkling. my favorite town to hang out in plus use as a base is chinon - of whose production 2% or so is dry chenin. since i'm usually there in may, i drink mostly white or rose chinon and really love both. apparently the largest producer of white is ch. ligre; but i mostly see couly-duthiel around here. when we stopped by vouvray, my companion wanted to visit at least one place. i said that THE place probably was Huet and as the visitors bureau is around the corner from the restaurant we usually eat lunch at, we stopped and asked if they could call for us. we were in! the fellow doing the pouring was very knowledgable and spoke great english. there was also a fellow from san fran there and we tasted some wonderful stuff - and bought it as well.

if you show up in vouvray without appointments, you can do worse than to go to the tourist office in the town. they really know the producers - at least out person did. she usually works out of the rochecorbon office, so you could also go there.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:34 pm

David Creighton wrote:i really love chenin as well - from dry to sweet and even sparkling. my favorite town to hang out in plus use as a base is chinon - of whose production 2% or so is dry chenin. since i'm usually there in may, i drink mostly white or rose chinon and really love both. apparently the largest producer of white is ch. ligre; but i mostly see couly-duthiel around here.


David; have you tried the white Chinon from Bernard Baudry? There are two cuvées made in tiny quantities, both delicious. La Croix Boissée is the more ambitious and sees some oak and the basic cuvée which is deliciously mineral but more simple; some may prefer it.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Creighton » Mon Jul 18, 2011 1:14 pm

i don't think i have had bernard baudry. i've had baudry-dutour but didn't like the 2010's as well as previous vintages. i know where bernard baudry is located and will plan to stop there next year. thanks for the suggestion. we did visit charles pain and really liked his wines. they have mininscule quantities of white which was very very good. but they have so little they would only sell us one 6 pk. apparently nearly all the white chinons are bought and consumed locally.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Mark Lipton » Mon Jul 18, 2011 3:19 pm

2009 Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sevre-et- Maine Sur Lie 'Pierre de la Grange'
Clean, minerally and fairly intense for a Pierre de la Grange. Curiously, I found this bottle substantially more appealing than when I had it earlier this year at the Dressner tasting. I'm glad that I bought a few on faith and look forward to trying the L d'Or and Clos des Allees.

N.V. François Pinon Vouvray Brut Non Dosé
Initially, the nose was predominantly yeast autolysis. As the wine sat, it opened up (and perhaps warmed a tad) and become more fruity and defined. Really lovely, clean and modestly fruity with a fine mousse and a mineral finish. Yum!

2008 François Pinon Vouvray Cuvée Tradition
Just as good as it was at the Dressner tasting: vivid, riveting focus, great minerality, lovely quince-citrus aromatics, nearly dry impression. Had it tonight with baked black cod with mango salsa and it went beautifully with the food. Jean proclaimed it the finest Vouvray of her experience ('59 Huet CdB 1er Trie notwithstanding) which is a bit hyperbolic but does capture our enthusiasm for the wine.

N.V. Foreau Vouvray Brut
A bit too toasty for my liking, but big and creamy with lemony fruit to buttress it. Still, I'll take Huet or even Pinon no-dosé over this.

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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Andrew Bair » Mon Jul 18, 2011 10:07 pm

Tim York wrote:If anyone doubts that Chenin based whites from Touraine and Anjou, even dry examples, are strong contenders for the title of of the world's greatest white wines, I rest my case on this Montlouis here and on the Jasnières from about a week ago, as well as on some rave worthy demi-sec and moelleux from Foreau and Huet consumed over recent years. To boot, they are mostly accessibly priced. For my palate, their only real rivals are Riesling from Germany, Alsace and Austria and the prices here seem to be creeping upwards, especially in Austria, Germany (for VdP) and Alsace (e.g. Trimabach CFE & CSH). Until premox struck, I would have included white Burgundy but, IMHO, bringing out their best qualities, except perhaps for Chablis, requires 10+ years ageing which is just too risky nowadays at the prices asked for for grands and 1ers crus. (Some people also complain of premox in Loire chenin but I have only experienced it in Savennières; a degree of nuttiness and deep colour is acceptable, even welcome, IMO). This one is a young example already showing beautifully.

Montlouis-sur-Loire Les Bournais 2008 - François Chidaine - Alc.13.5% - (€20). Colour was medium/pale yellow. The nose was beautifully mineral with citrus and white fruit touches and a rounder and darker undertow showing the beginnings of typical wax and quince. The palate was medium weight, superbly focussed, linear and delightfully racy with mouth-watering crisp acidity, complex minerality, fresh fruit slightly in the background, great nervous tension and a similar round, but not yet as well developed, undertow to that on the nose. In time, I am sure that this will gain in beeswax complexity and fullness but at the expense of exuberant raciness; 17.5/20.


Hi Tim -

Thank you for the great note - sounds like an impressive wine! Although I like Chidaine's wines, the Les Bournais is a new one to me.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Joe Moryl » Wed Jul 20, 2011 1:07 am

2008 Vouvray Sec, Cuvee Silex, Vigneau-Chevreau:
So, finally I get around to pulling the cork on a white Loire for this thread. Nice color - a bit of lemony yellow. Nose is quite reticent, despite swirling and waiting, just some light pearish fruit, honey and a whiff of isopropyl alcohol. On the palate this is razor sharp with limey acidity, some quince/pear fruit. A bit of wax, but really quite austere. Seems well made, but not very pleasurable right now. Hard to imagine how this will develop. "Vin issu de raisins de l'agriculture biologique." 13 % abv/$20.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Wed Jul 20, 2011 10:37 am

To remind people of the variety available in the Loire, here is a TN from January 2009 on a rare non-mainstream wine which is steeped in history and which is made from pre-phylloxera Romorantin vines. The Marionnet estate is located in eastern Touriane at Soings-en-Sologne south-west of Blois and not far from Cour-Cheverny. It is also well known for its Gamay, some also from ungrafted vines, but IMO these do not reach the heights of Provignage.

Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France “Provignage” 2006 – Cépage Romorantin – Vigne pré-phylloxérique – Henry Marionnet – Alc. 13% - (approx. €40).

C: Quite pale yellow
N: Subdued at first but developing intensity and complexity as the wine (straight from cellar at 11°C) aired and warmed a little; includes notes of burnished apple, rhubarb, quince, honey and minerals.
P: Similarly subdued at first but developing breadth, depth, “gras” and length to frame beautifully the above aromas. A lovely wine which probably has some development potential; 17.5/20.

The back label provides some interesting historical information about the vines and grape variety together with a grain of French grandiloquence. Here is my coarse translation –
“Provignage
Pre-phylloxera vines planted in 1850 according to verbal evidence.
The Romorantin grape variety was introduced into our region by King François I in 1519. He had 80,000 vines brought from Burgundy to be planted around Romorantin. The king was planning to construct a great château there but he finally built it at Chambord. Experts have confirmed the great age of these vines, which have not been grafted since phylloxera only appeared in France after 1870. It is a very complex and absolutely exceptional “vin de garde”. It represents a page of our history and forms part of the heritage of our country.”


One question springs to mind. What has happened to the Romorantin grape in Burgundy?
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Lole » Sat Jul 23, 2011 9:57 am

Just as it happens, I just opened two Loire sweet wines, a Domaine D’Ambinos Clos des Mulonnierres Coteaux du Layon Beaulieu 1982 1er Trie, a wine of impeccable provenance with just about one of the worst labels I've ever seen on a wine bottle, but I can get over that in a jiff if the wine was as good as some that came before it (95 pointers), but I couldn't, because the wine was corked, although one could sense from the extraordinary pale colour and its continual attempt to fight and bury the mould and unwashed wet shaggy dog that spoiled this sweet wine so badly, of its potential greatness. So, what did I do ..... I opened a 1988 S.A. Huet 1er Trie La Haut Lieu Moeullex that was in very poor condition, oxidised to the outhouse. So much for my first contribution for some time to a Wine Focus! :evil:
Cheers,

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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bruce Hayes » Sun Jul 24, 2011 12:21 pm

Le Courlis Sauvignon Touraine 2009
Clos Du Porteau
Light yellow in the glass.
Spicy, apple on the nose.
Peppery, medium weight, grapefruit, gooseberry, lemon, lime, green apple, nicely rounded in the mouth, good acidity, rich, very spicy, very intense, delicious.
Peppery and mouthwatering on the finish.
Screwcap closure.
Purchased at $14.95 (Canadian).
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jul 24, 2011 1:45 pm

Davids note on his two sweet CBs reminded me that no-one seems to have posted on a Coteaux de Layon yet. I am about to change that but in the meantime forumites might be interested in this wonderful piece of writing from Chris Kissick who has just been away in Tuscany I believe. This link is to Claude Papin of Domaine Pierre-Bise....>

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/tastingspr ... bise.shtml
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:17 am

Savennières moelleux 1996 - Château d'Epiré - Alc.12.5%. This was the first unsatisfactory wine noted during this WF; not so much because it was bad as because it was stylistically ambiguous and difficult to match with food. I remember that at the estate they had told me that this was really a demi-sec called moelleux because the demi-sec designation was not allowed at Savennières??

Well, with a rich fish dish which would have been great with a Vouvray demi-sec, I found the wine too round, sweet and even bland lacking that lively acidity (odd for a 96 of all vintages) and marked minerality which make much demi-sec Vouvray such a great food wine; even Crottin de Chavignol goat cheese which is usually an unfailing partner for Loire whites did not bring out anything interesting. The next day, I thought that I would try the wine as a real moelleux dessert wine after some delicious unsweetened raspberries; this time the wine seemed too dry lacking the refined opulence, balancing acidity and complex aromatics of, say, a Coteaux du Layon from Claude Papin (see link in Bob's post above). 14.5/20.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jul 25, 2011 7:32 am

WTN: Chateau de la Roulerie Coteaux du Layon.

375 ml, cellared two yrs or so, $16 Cdn, 12.5% alc. Good natural cork, a domaine on the up and up I think. Average vintage year I am told?

Light yellow-gold color, nose quite appealing but not too much botrytis. Stone fruit too, especially apricot but no wet wool! Nice entry, not too sweet and cloying, plenty of fruit...peach and apricot. Good mid-palate and fair length. I think it has the right acidity but others might argue? Not a big finish but quite good. Not a lot of change over two hrs. Have one half left, will keep for scientific research.

Was not the greatest match with goats cheese (good example hard to find here), might try a Quebec blue next time.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Wed Jul 27, 2011 6:19 am

Anjou Chenin blanc - Les Grandes Brosses - 2010 - Château de la Roulerie - Alc.13.5% - (<€6). I might have been more enthusiastic about this 2010 Anjou chenin if I had not recently owned and drunk another from Mabileau which was fruitier and more generous, albeit less cheap. This one was medium/light in body, linear in shape, well focussed with attractive white fruit (incl. peaches), minerals and lively acidity; but I found that a slightly saline bitterness on the finish detracted from the whole and this element was emphasised by some accompanying maatjes (Dutch herrings) but not by scampi. A good QPR wine, of which I will probably buy more bottles; 15/20 QPR.
Here is a link to a typical excellent article on Ch.de La Roulerie by Chris Kissack http://www.thewinedoctor.com/loire/roulerie.shtml .

For comparison, here is my TN from April on the Mabileau -


Anjou Chenin des Rouillères 2010 - Domaine Frédéric Mabileau, Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil - Alc.14% - (€10) is made from 5 year old vines planted on gravelly sand over white clay; it was a surprisingly rich, aromatic and generous wine with fresh fruit flavours (apple and quince) and smooth acidity (less than from Courtade!! from Provence); 15.5/20++.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Jenise » Wed Jul 27, 2011 7:58 pm

Well, decided to join you all and open the first bottle from a case of 08 Montcy Cour-Cheverny. Oxidized. Opened a second bottle. Oxidized too. Sent a complaint by email to the supplier and got an immediate refund for the entire case. So much for good intentions!
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bill Buitenhuys » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:28 pm

Gotta love those Loire whites...a couple of pours from last week and the requisite Pépière posts for Mr. Parsons. (hi all...)

2005 Domaine Richou Anjou Chauvigné (Loire) Textbook wooly, waxy lemon chenin. This wine isn't overly complex but is a very good example of why I love Loire chenin so much. It's crisp with a slight bit of r.s, excellent fruit, good acid streak, and very cleansing finish.

2005 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Granite de Clisson (Loire) This is a lovely drop, for sure. More richness than Briords but still retains that lemon vibrancy, seaspray and minerality. Ridiculous value for a wine that will last for another decade or more.

2007 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords (Loire Valley) Wonderfully wide-open Briords. All the usual suspects of seaspray, lemon acidity, and granite but ramped up almost to 05 Clisson levels (without the relatively lusher textural element of Clisson). Sometimes Briords can be fairly austere but this one is open and delightful.

2008 François Chidaine Vouvray Le Bouchet (Loire) Very young (showing lots of baby fat) but the structure, fruit, and underlying acidity is there for this wine to evolve nicely. Honeyed lemon, minerals in spades. Give it 5 years for the sugar to soften.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Jenise » Thu Jul 28, 2011 3:37 pm

Tim York wrote:Savennières moelleux 1996 - Château d'Epiré - Alc.12.5%. This was the first unsatisfactory wine noted during this WF; not so much because it was bad as because it was stylistically ambiguous and difficult to match with food. I remember that at the estate they had told me that this was really a demi-sec called moelleux because the demi-sec designation was not allowed at Savennières??

Well, with a rich fish dish which would have been great with a Vouvray demi-sec, I found the wine too round, sweet and even bland lacking that lively acidity (odd for a 96 of all vintages) and marked minerality which make much demi-sec Vouvray such a great food wine; even Crottin de Chavignol goat cheese which is usually an unfailing partner for Loire whites did not bring out anything interesting. The next day, I thought that I would try the wine as a real moelleux dessert wine after some delicious unsweetened raspberries; this time the wine seemed too dry lacking the refined opulence, balancing acidity and complex aromatics of, say, a Coteaux du Layon from Claude Papin (see link in Bob's post above). 14.5/20.


Tim, I'm reading Kermit Lynch's book Adventures on the Wine Route, and just this morning read his account of his relationship with Monsier Bizard and the winery L'Epire before and after Mssr. Bizard's death in 1985. Where the wines had been hand-made but not profitable--Bizard made his income in charcuterie, wine was more a passion thing--upon his death the family decided they had no choice but to go with modern winemaking practices which stripped the wine of its former personality. If you or anyone else has an update on what's become of L'Epire since, I would love to learn more.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Andrew Bair » Thu Jul 28, 2011 10:22 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:WTN: Chateau de la Roulerie Coteaux du Layon.

375 ml, cellared two yrs or so, $16 Cdn, 12.5% alc. Good natural cork, a domaine on the up and up I think. Average vintage year I am told?

Light yellow-gold color, nose quite appealing but not too much botrytis. Stone fruit too, especially apricot but no wet wool! Nice entry, not too sweet and cloying, plenty of fruit...peach and apricot. Good mid-palate and fair length. I think it has the right acidity but others might argue? Not a big finish but quite good. Not a lot of change over two hrs. Have one half left, will keep for scientific research.

Was not the greatest match with goats cheese (good example hard to find here), might try a Quebec blue next time.


Hi Bob -

Thanks for the note. I guess that we are in agreement on this one!
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Fri Jul 29, 2011 3:27 pm

Jenise wrote:
Tim York wrote:Savennières moelleux 1996 - Château d'Epiré - Alc.12.5%. This was the first unsatisfactory wine noted during this WF; not so much because it was bad as because it was stylistically ambiguous and difficult to match with food. I remember that at the estate they had told me that this was really a demi-sec called moelleux because the demi-sec designation was not allowed at Savennières??

Well, with a rich fish dish which would have been great with a Vouvray demi-sec, I found the wine too round, sweet and even bland lacking that lively acidity (odd for a 96 of all vintages) and marked minerality which make much demi-sec Vouvray such a great food wine; even Crottin de Chavignol goat cheese which is usually an unfailing partner for Loire whites did not bring out anything interesting. The next day, I thought that I would try the wine as a real moelleux dessert wine after some delicious unsweetened raspberries; this time the wine seemed too dry lacking the refined opulence, balancing acidity and complex aromatics of, say, a Coteaux du Layon from Claude Papin (see link in Bob's post above). 14.5/20.


Tim, I'm reading Kermit Lynch's book Adventures on the Wine Route, and just this morning read his account of his relationship with Monsier Bizard and the winery L'Epire before and after Mssr. Bizard's death in 1985. Where the wines had been hand-made but not profitable--Bizard made his income in charcuterie, wine was more a passion thing--upon his death the family decided they had no choice but to go with modern winemaking practices which stripped the wine of its former personality. If you or anyone else has an update on what's become of L'Epire since, I would love to learn more.


Jenise, the wines which I bought at Château d'Epiré in 1998 or 99 have turned out to be one of my most disappointing purchases. As well as a lot of 95s and 96s, I bought some bottles of 1990. The wines tasted lively when young but we were advised to give the basic cuvée about 5 years and the Cuvée Spéciale up to 10 to really show their stuff. In the event most of the bottles of the basic cuvée were oxidised and, when not, were dull. I have had some good but not outstanding bottles of Cuvée Spéciale 1996 but the 1995s were very variable. The 1990s were dull. I think I have about half a dozen of this mixed purchase left, mainly "moelleux" and CS 96.

In favour of the "moelleux", the remainders on the third night were the best, showing much more interesting aromatics, which probably shows that the wine should have been decanted. Visiting the website, I discovered that 1996 was the first vintage when the designation "moelleux" was used for wines where the RS exceeds 17g/l; previously it was called "demi-sec".

For many years Château d'Epiré has no longer got very favourable reviews in the annual French wine guides, RVF, Bettane/Desseuave, Hachette.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Jenise » Fri Jul 29, 2011 9:54 pm

Bill Buitenhuys wrote:Gotta love those Loire whites...a couple of pours from last week and the requisite Pépière posts for Mr. Parsons. (hi all...)

2005 Domaine Richou Anjou Chauvigné (Loire) Textbook wooly, waxy lemon chenin. This wine isn't overly complex but is a very good example of why I love Loire chenin so much. It's crisp with a slight bit of r.s, excellent fruit, good acid streak, and very cleansing finish.

2005 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Granite de Clisson (Loire) This is a lovely drop, for sure. More richness than Briords but still retains that lemon vibrancy, seaspray and minerality. Ridiculous value for a wine that will last for another decade or more.

2007 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Vieilles Vignes Clos des Briords (Loire Valley) Wonderfully wide-open Briords. All the usual suspects of seaspray, lemon acidity, and granite but ramped up almost to 05 Clisson levels (without the relatively lusher textural element of Clisson). Sometimes Briords can be fairly austere but this one is open and delightful.

2008 François Chidaine Vouvray Le Bouchet (Loire) Very young (showing lots of baby fat) but the structure, fruit, and underlying acidity is there for this wine to evolve nicely. Honeyed lemon, minerals in spades. Give it 5 years for the sugar to soften.


Bill, good to see you!!!
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:10 pm

I know that there are many admirers of the Domaine de la Pepiere Clos des Briords here, so have just come across the new write up from Chris Kissick on the `09 vintage. He sure keeps up to date eh, but guess some of you have the `10 already!!

http://www.thewinedoctor.com/weekend/pe ... ds09.shtml
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:14 pm

Bob Parsons Alberta wrote:Here, and elsewhere, I have read quite a few reports on aged Muscadet, notably from Perriere. Last month I opened an `01 Muscadet from Domaine Haut Bourg which I briefly commented on. Now is the time to open one from your cellar! Even better, visit Chambers St and see what they have.
My TN from last month....>

Last night I opened the `01 Domaine du Haut Bourg Cotes de Grandlieu Muscadet. 7 yrs on the lees, cheap at $22 eh.The color was amazing, a light straw, terrific aromatics and singing along nicely on the palate with a very firm finish still. Aged Muscadet does not get better than this!


From the archives.

Today I was fortunate to get a heads up on another Domaine du Haut Bourg Muscadet. This new offering is the `02 Origine which has spent 10 yrs on its lees ($22). Very good write up on Chris Kissicks blog.
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Bob Parsons Alberta
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