Hello and the warmest of welcomes to this month’s #TWSTaste! Tonight from 8pm on this thread we’ll be ‘Drinking Outside the Box’ by road-testing two white wines (the first time we’ve done a white-wine only one of these) recommended in our current offer of the same name as alternatives to New Zealand sauvignon blanc.
Refreshing, distinctive and crowd-pleasing, New Zealand sauvignon (particularly from Marlborough) has firmly established itself as a modern classic of the wine world. I’ve always rather liked my colleague Sebastian Payne MW’s description of it as ‘the gin and tonic of wine’!
But this evening we’re heading to Chile and the Loire to try out what they have to offer. Before we get going at 8, here’s a little info on the lateral drinking in prospect!
Chile: Concha y Toro Corte Ignacio Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2018 - 13% - £8.50
We say: ‘This sauvignon blanc comes from a vineyard in the south-western part of Casablanca, one of Chile’s coolest areas, and 2018 is arguably the best vintage of the last ten years. The wine is taut and firm with typical aromas of blackcurrant leaf and displays a refreshing grapefruit-like character on the palate. A fabulous alternative for those looking for sauvignon outside of Marlborough.’
Here’s a quick look at where Casablanca is within Chile/South America.
Concha y Toro are the thoughtful colossus of Chilean wine: similarly to Penfolds in Australia, they make some of the country’s greatest wines in limited quantities (e.g. Don Melchor, Carmín de Peumo, Amelia) as well as large volumes of high-quality brands such as Casillero del Diablo.
Thanks to our close professional bond with them, we are one of the few companies in the world allowed to make small batches of wines with their celebrated winemakers Ignacio Recabarren (who worked on this wine with us) and Marcelo Papa.
They take remarkable amounts of care and time in selecting these with us and we’re very proud of the results, jointly blended by Ignacio and our buyer Toby Morrhall. Here’s Ignacio signalling a job well done at the blending table!
The 2018 vintage is particularly exciting: after the warmer 2017, the following year was a cool one, resulting in excellent finesse and freshness. We look forward to hearing what you think.
Loire: Cour Cheverny ‘Le Petit Chambord’, Cazin 2015 - 14% - £11.95
We say: ‘Romorantin is an almost completely extinct grape found exclusively in the Loire commune of Cour Cheverny, and is an absolute must try for any lover of sauvignon blanc. Naturally high acidity meets granny-smith apple tang and freshness with surprisingly full body. Also isn’t out of place alongside a decadent cheeseboard!’
Here’s where Cour-Cheverny is, in the central part of the Loire region:
Cour Cheverny’s has its origins in the vulgar Latin word, curtis (farm), and it seems likely this was once a large part of farmland belonging to the nearby village of Cheverny. François Cazin is based in the latter, but makes mostly wine from the former: one of only 35 producers working its chalky clay soil.
We love his wines for a number of reasons. He has meticulous attention to detail, harvesting only by hand and being ruthless in terms of quality control. Here he is in full flow during a tasting:
François also has a marksman’s touch with the local romorantin grape, which this wine is made from. A bit of a curio, romorantin is a sibling of chardonnay but makes wines with a distinctive appley flavour that, we think, could bring a zingy sauvignon blanc to mind. It’s also a grape that tends to prefer warmer growing conditions than sauvignon and indeed chardonnay, and the 2015 vintage certainly gave it that.
Looking forward to trying both of these with you at 8.