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The Wines of the Loire

Looks like we are missing a topic dedicated to an amazing wine region, which produces some of my favourite white wines (and some refreshing reds too). So let’s start the conversation with a stelar example.

This Silex Sancerre from Domaine Laporte (Le Rochoy) is a stunner. Finesse on the nose and palate. New discoveries with every sip (usually a good sign) and a prolonged finish. Their entry level bottling is an amazing value for money, so worth checking out as well.

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Great idea, Andre. Loire wines are hugely diverse and also underrated in many cases.

I had a Sancerre recently and realised that I do actually like SB when it doesn’t just taste of gooseberries. I’m planning to try more similar appellations that I’ve enjoyed in the past like Quincy, Reuilly and Menetou Salon. They’re hard to get in this country but it’s good to see TWS stock a few interesting ones ATM.

There are loads of other areas further down river I’d also like to get to know better, including Savennieres, Muscadet and Chinon.

All in all it’s a great area for summer wines.

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This is one of the entry-level Domaine Laporte wines I enjoy. It’s classified as Vin de Pays du Val de Loire, with Sauvignon Blanc prominently displayed on the label.

It’s quite aromatic too. Sometimes I enjoy this as much as the premier cuvée, depending on the food.

On this last point, I almost always drink these wines with food.

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This is one region you should invest some time next! Try one of the wines of Nicolas Joly, if you can. They’re like nothing else.

https://coulee-de-serrant.com

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I’ve never tried one unfortunately. Again they’re not widely available in the UK (I know you can get hold of some if you look hard enough).

Do they always need time in bottle or do they drink well young too?

Let’s not forget the area around Anjou too!

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I too have been a fan of Loire wines for quite a few years. Because the Loire has largely never really adopted the Burgundy/Bordeaux pyramid classification system it has largely (but not completely) avoided the dreaded hype in prices for trophy wines for which those two areas have become famous.

What has been happening is a sharp rise in alcohol levels amongst several whites, largely in the more inland regions. This is leading to a change in structure and fruit profile flavours in whites. Acidity is less marked and riper fruit has led to rounder stone fruit flavours. This is drifting towards a dilution of typicity.

The Loire valley vine and grape research centre at Montreuil Balley near Saumur is carrying out tests on Sauvignon blanc clones to produce one that buds and ripens later, but if successful it will be at least another decade before any new clones can be registered for commercial use.

So my search for Loire wines tends to start with a look at the alcohol level in the wine rather than the name of the maker.

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Current status in Savenneires:

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It’s tough being you.

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Taking one for the team :joy::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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A dilution of typicity is an interesting phrase. The increase in alcohol levels and change in fruit profiles seems to be a pretty much global phenomenon and is perhaps more of an evolution of typicity than a dilution. Not necessarily an entirely “natural” evolution, but one which seems unlikely to change direction. Some clever cloning might manage to delay the inevitable a little, but I think too little, and probably too late.

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My anecdote is off-thread but kind of relevant. When I started looking for wine to try and buy at cellar doors, as opposed to shops, and started venturing into France as a naive and relatively impecunious youth in my 20’s.

My first - ever stop at a non shop / supermarket wine outlet was the Chateau de Targé in Saumur, this would have been in the early-mid 80’s. I’ve been back a few times since, but tasting and talking to the owner about their cab franc Saumur-Champigny is wot got me hooked on my obsession ever since. The rest is History…

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I agonised for sometime over whether to say “typicity” or “terroir.” For typicity I had in mind that SB high, clean, refreshing acidity and the less obvious and often more complex citrus fruit than the Marlborough SBs I have drunk.

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I have a few bottles of Cour Cheverny Romorantin 2019 which I bought a while ago and don’t intend to open for a couple of years or more. I haven’t, as far as I recall, had it, or any other Romorantin before. When I got it I was very surprised to see that it is 15% alcohol. I didn’t expect that at all in a Loire white.

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Best red wine I’ve tasted from the Loire

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I’ve not tried any of his fancier wines yet but even his cheapest samuar champigny is absolutely gorgeous, I think the best cabernet franc I’ve tasted

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Your anecdote is very much on point. The family Lapin went to Limousin a few years ago - stopping in Saumur a few days. I visited Domaine Filliatreau (their entry level wines are stocked by Waitrose) and was astounded by the quality of the wines - especially the bottles only available cellar door.

They told me the best Loire wines never reach the UK (or Paris) because they are made in such small volumes and cannot stand the multiple price mark-ups.

So if you are travelling in the area, I can only suggest planning to bring back many cases of the finest you can afford !

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Question for the Loire-ratti.

Standard does it age question really. I bought a bottle of Chateau Bonnezeaux La Montagne 2020, seeing the word Bonnezeaux assuming it was a sweet Chenin (thank you @MattHo for the introduction to them!), but have later discovered it’s a very hipster IGT dry Chenin (take the Spanish old vine garnacha/natural ferment schpeil and move grape and location and you get the idea). I’ve had some dry Vouvray that’ve been circa 10 years old, and this one was certainly pricey enough that I’d hope it would, but also who knows.

Drink or Keep?

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Any other tips for Saumur? We are staying for two nights next month on the way back from the Dordogne. Not sure about winery visits with the family, but restaurants/caves/sightseeing certainly on the agenda!

We had a lovely meal in L’Escargot

Unassuming from the outside, but fefinitely book in advance. Seating in the perfectly formed garden is best! :grinning:

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