The Loire is distinguished among all other French wine regions for its dizzying diversity of wines. This can be attributed to the sheer size of the region, and the nearly two millenia of documented wine production history. Not to mention the countless changing cultural and political forces over history, whose conflict and confluence it would be impossible to explicate within the boundaries of this introduction. Read on for more and for tonight’s lineup…
The fact that so many varietals and styles are viable in the Loire might be interpreted as a regional identity crisis, especially in our international market where stylistic homogenization seems to be the norm. In reality, what is being offered by today’s Loire producers is one of the most vibrant ');" onmouseout="tooltip.hide();">collections of traditional winemaking that exists anywhere in the world. What presents this idea quite elegantly is the name given to many of the region’s non-AOC wines, “Jardin de la France” (France’s garden).
So where does that bring us today? We’ve assembled a slew of wines that represent the best and most typical of their respective appellations. In all cases, we have sought out wines that we hope will surprise you with what makes each one unique. Here is the lineup
□ NV Bossard-Thuaud Vin Mousseux de Qualité
A sparkling blend of melon de bourgogne, folle blanche, cabernet franc, and chardonnay, produced by the legendary Guy Bossard.
□ 2005 Domaine de L’Ecu Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie “Expression d’Orthogneiss”
Guy Bossard demonstrates the capacity for Muscadet to express the nuances of a particular soil composition, in this case, one featuring igneous rock.
□ 2006 Thomas-Labaille Sancerre “Authentique”
Jean-Paul Labaille implements the ancient techniques taught to him by his father-in-law Claude Thomas. Theirs are some of the best situated old vines in Chavignol.
□ 2008 Domaine François Cazin Cheverny
An unfiltered blend of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay from one of the newer Loire appellations.
□ 2004 Domaine de la Charmoise Touraine “Vinifera Sauvignon”
The debut vintage of a wine from a one-hectare vineyard of ungrafted vines planted in 1998-1999.
□ 2008 Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Blanc
A rare white Chinon (Raffault only makes 500 cases annually), made with chenin blanc and aged in stainless steel tanks.
□ 2007 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec “Le Mont”
□ 2006 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec “Le Mont”
□ 2005 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec “Le Mont”
A vertical of dry chenin blanc from Huet’s 8 hectare “Le Mont” vineyard, where the vines are 30 years old on average.
□ 2005 Nicolas Joly Savennieres – Coulée de Serrant
The famous flagship monopole from the legendary missionary of biodynamic viticulture.
□ 2004 La Ferme de la Sansonnière Anjou “La Lune”
Winemaker Mark Angeli focuses on lowering yields to maintain the highest quality levels. Also biodynamically managed.
□ 2005 Domaine du Clos Naudin Vouvray Moelleux
A sweeter version of Vouvray made only in years when the weather allows the grapes to achieve the necessary ripeness (chaptalization is never done).
□ 2006 Domaine de Bellivière Coteaux du Loir “Rouge-Gorge”
A celebration of the varietal pinot d’aunis, where yields have been limited to a microscopic 25 hectoliters per hectare.
□ 2005 Domaine Le Briseau Coteaux du Loir “Les Mortiers”
A blend of pinot d’aunis, côt (malbec), and gamay from an estate that is certified organic and moving toward biodynamic viticulture.
□ 2002 Lucien Crochet Sancerre Rouge “Cuvée Prestige LC”
A special cuvée of pinot noir produced only when conditions are ideal, from a few parcels of the estate’s oldest vines.
□ 2007 Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil “trinch!”
Named after the French word for the sound of two glasses clinking, this is a cabernet franc that is meant to be drunk with a little chill on it.
□ 2007 Clos Roche Blanche 2007 Touraine “Cuvée Côt”
100% côt, or malbec, made in the most natural way possible. Rather than sulfur, they use carbon dioxide to stabilize the wine during bottling.
□ NV Earl Oliver “Le Cousin Rouge” Vieilles Vignes Grolleau
A regional varietal that doesn’t get much respect, being used primarily for bulk rose. Old vine grolleau is seen here in all its gutsy glory.
□ 2004 Clos de Maulévrier Touraine “Ante Phylloxera”
From a tiny fenced-in vineyard that survived the phylloxera epidemic of the 19th century. Only 100 cases are produced annually.
□ 2004 Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny
A winery that has achieved cult status in France, thus only a tiny amount is ever exported. Cabernet franc for the ages.