July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Creighton » Sat Jul 02, 2011 2:54 pm

well, dan, noble joue of course is not a grape but and appellation that is by their description a 'gris'; but since the gris part comprises 20% or less, i'd say it was a rose, technically. granted it is light - but no lighter than some provence rose's. noble joue blends pinot noir, pinot meunier and pinot gris. i'm very fond of the good ones and have some 2010 remi cosson in the fridge as we speak.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sat Jul 02, 2011 8:55 pm

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!
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Creighton » Sun Jul 03, 2011 11:35 am

tim york's geography of loire vineyards leaves some out on both ends and in the middle. beyond Cosne, the vineyards as far south as Cote du Forez are considered part of the Loire region. (also, Roannaises, Auvergne, St. Pourcain and Chateaumeillant). in the middle, there is Poitou. and beyond nantes, there is the Vendee. Fiefs Vendiens has been elevated to full AOC status i believe.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Andrew Bair » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:00 pm

As far as white grapes, we can add Tresallier (known as Sacy in the Yonne) and St. Pierre Doré to our list, as both are traditionally used in St. Pourcain whites. (My experience with St. Pourcain is limited to one red, so I have tried anything contained had either for these grapes.) From what I have read, it doesn't seem as though St. Pierre Doré is commonly used much these days.
There's also the Arbois grape, a.k.a. Menu Pineau, which Puzelat/Clos du Tue-Boeuf uses in some white blends, as well as a varietal wine that I have never been able to find. Despite the name of the grape, I'm not aware that it has any connection to Jura.

And an actual tasting note... I am much more familiar with Huët than Foreau/Clos Naudin, but just found this bottle of the latter, and was quite excited to open it.

1995 Domaine du Clos Naudin (Philippe Foreau) Vouvray Moelleux
Not the reserve. Medium amber color. Nose is rather sweet, with scents of vanilla, tangerines, and Chenin-y wet wool/lanolin. Full-bodied, well balanced, with good underlying acidity. Lightly to moderately sweet, but not at the point where it can only be a dessert wine. mineral, with, orange, pear, caramel, and baking spice flavors. Seamless, and very elegant. An excellent Vouvray, though definitely mature now, and I wouldn’t recommend holding it for too much longer given the advanced color and aromatics.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Jon Leifer » Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:47 pm

As Bob points out, Chambers St is a great source for Muscadet , whether from Pepiere or other fine houses..Next up in my wine fridge and probably will be opened in next day or so, is the 2009 Bregeon, sourced from Chambers St.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Mon Jul 04, 2011 5:17 am

David Creighton wrote:tim york's geography of loire vineyards leaves some out on both ends and in the middle. beyond Cosne, the vineyards as far south as Cote du Forez are considered part of the Loire region. (also, Roannaises, Auvergne, St. Pourcain and Chateaumeillant). in the middle, there is Poitou. and beyond nantes, there is the Vendee. Fiefs Vendiens has been elevated to full AOC status i believe.


Absolutely right, David. If you click on the link which I provided, you'll see that most of those outliers are there, except those of the Roanne region. Most of us never get an opportunity to drink these outliers, except perhaps Les Fiefs Vendéens and Poitou. I don't think that I have ever had Châteaumeillant, for example. It would be interesting if we could get TNs on some of these.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Dan Smothergill » Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:09 pm

David Creighton wrote:well, dan, noble joue of course is not a grape but and appellation that is by their description a 'gris'; but since the gris part comprises 20% or less, i'd say it was a rose, technically. granted it is light - but no lighter than some provence rose's. noble joue blends pinot noir, pinot meunier and pinot gris.

Correct as usual David. I only quoted you as a lead in to mentioning another wine from the Loire that flies under the radar. Would you agree that some other Loire wines also seem very much like roses but aren't called such? I'm thinking of Pinot Gris from Reuilly, a wine which I think is made pretty much from that single varietal.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Mon Jul 04, 2011 10:28 pm

As I open a Saumur Blanc from the well-known local cooperative, I thought of the following article where Jamie Goode questions Chenin Blanc.....>

http://www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/aust ... ome-chenin

I do not think my Saumur comes close to Jamie`s 3 descriptions!!

Last night, cracked open my last Champalou.

N/V Champalou Brut Vouvray.

Typical apple mineral flavors. Bright and bubbly with pear, apple and peach. Has cellared nicely for 3 yrs.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:32 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:As I open a Saumur Blanc from the well-known local cooperative, I thought of the following article where Jamie Goode questions Chenin Blanc.....>

http://www.wineanorak.com/wineblog/aust ... ome-chenin

I do not think my Saumur comes close to Jamie`s 3 descriptions!!

Last night, cracked open my last Champalou.

N/V Champalou Brut Vouvray.

Typical apple mineral flavors. Bright and bubbly with pear, apple and peach. Has cellared nicely for 3 yrs.


Bob, Jamie's sample there is very small with none from the Loire. Sarah Ahmed's fruit analogies are much better IMO and, of course, mineral flavours are very marked in Loire-land, especially Vouvray.

Your description of the Champalou is bang on for Vouvray bubbly.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David M. Bueker » Tue Jul 05, 2011 8:16 am

Opened the 2002 Domaine des Baumard Savennieres yesterday, and while it had a lot of typical Chenin elements it was overshadowed by a heavily oxidative set of aromas and flavors. The color was also rather dark. I bought it on release from a good source, so unless the NE USA distributor is cooking these I would have to say premox.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bruce K » Tue Jul 05, 2011 10:49 am

David M. Bueker wrote:Opened the 2002 Domaine des Baumard Savennieres yesterday, and while it had a lot of typical Chenin elements it was overshadowed by a heavily oxidative set of aromas and flavors. The color was also rather dark. I bought it on release from a good source, so unless the NE USA distributor is cooking these I would have to say premox.


Sorry about that. I opened a bottle six months ago and it was terrific with no oxidation evident at all. But my experience with earlier vintages of the regular Baumard Savennieres (opened after 8-10 years) has been that about half were oxidative and half not -- from the same year.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Tue Jul 05, 2011 1:30 pm

Bruce K wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Opened the 2002 Domaine des Baumard Savennieres yesterday, and while it had a lot of typical Chenin elements it was overshadowed by a heavily oxidative set of aromas and flavors. The color was also rather dark. I bought it on release from a good source, so unless the NE USA distributor is cooking these I would have to say premox.


Sorry about that. I opened a bottle six months ago and it was terrific with no oxidation evident at all. But my experience with earlier vintages of the regular Baumard Savennieres (opened after 8-10 years) has been that about half were oxidative and half not -- from the same year.


I also have had premoxed bottles from Savennières (Ch.d'Epiré) but never from Vouvray. Any Reason or just luck?
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Mark Lipton » Thu Jul 07, 2011 3:27 pm

Tim York wrote:
Bruce K wrote:
David M. Bueker wrote:Opened the 2002 Domaine des Baumard Savennieres yesterday, and while it had a lot of typical Chenin elements it was overshadowed by a heavily oxidative set of aromas and flavors. The color was also rather dark. I bought it on release from a good source, so unless the NE USA distributor is cooking these I would have to say premox.


Sorry about that. I opened a bottle six months ago and it was terrific with no oxidation evident at all. But my experience with earlier vintages of the regular Baumard Savennieres (opened after 8-10 years) has been that about half were oxidative and half not -- from the same year.


I also have had premoxed bottles from Savennières (Ch.d'Epiré) but never from Vouvray. Any Reason or just luck?


Dry Chenin is likely more susceptible to oxidation than off-dry and sweeter versions owing to the increased use of SO2 in those bottlings. Having said that, I've witnessed interesting discussions about the possibly transitory nature of the oxidative notes in Savennieres: folks have reported experiences where a bottle that seemed oxidized and shot later became vibrant and fruity. There's also been cases of significant bottle variation, so maybe it's the variability of the corks that's the primary determinant.

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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Fri Jul 08, 2011 12:30 am

WTN: `08 Cave de Saumur Saumur Reserve des Vignerons, Loire.

Big, well-known cooperative. $20 Cdn, synthetic cork, cellared one year. 100% Chenin Blanc.
Saumur is recognised as a serious sparkling wine area too.

Nose. A little different from my usual CB. Herbal, floral, kind of a salty nose, quite minerally. "Honeysuckle" from across the table.
Color is a medium yellow, no green.
Initial entry on the palate is dry, some herbal tones on the finish. Medium length, good acidity, granny smith apples, touch of tart citrus. Has some of that freshness I find in BC CBs.
Takes a while to open up, white pepper and spice plus some richness as it warms. Maybe do not serve too chilled eh?
Would be interesting to find out who are the recognised top producers in Saumur?

http://www.cavedesaumur.com/en/expertis ... ellations/
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Re: white Saumur - message now incl. TNs

Postby Tim York » Fri Jul 08, 2011 3:39 am

Bob, I have had the white Saumur from the following red Saumur-Champigny producers and IMO they need not fear competition from dry Vouvray or Savennières.

Saumur Brézé from Clos Rougeard, Foucault - (€25-30, I guess)
Saumur Insolite from Domaine des Roches Neuves, Thierry Germain - (approx. €16)
Saumur Les Cormiers from Ch.de Villeneuve, Jean-Pierre Chevallier - (approx.€15) and also a deliciously crisp basic Saumur (€7)

And the Saumur from Ch.du Hureau, Ph.Vatan (€12) is good too if not quite on the same level.

In turning the pages of the RVF's annual guide I read favourable comments about an unfamiliar name, Domaine Guiberteau, for their Saumur Brézé, Saumur Clos de Guichaux and Saumur Clos des Carmes. Good Saumur reds too.

Here are some of my TNs on the first three mentioned -

Dec 2007
I tasted the Clos Rougeard range in M.Foucault’s presence.
SAUMUR BREZE 2004 (W) shows aromas of exotic white fruit with a marked patina of fine wood and a generous mouth-filling palate with impressive flesh and length; 16.5+/20 with a little more time. SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY LES POYEUX 2004 shows fine aromas of complex fruit with wood in the background and rich fruity and long palate with charcoal notes and wood still present but already well integrated; 16.5/20+ and ready for the long haul. SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY LE BOURG 2004 is similar but a notch superior in terms of depth and complexity; 17/20 +.

Oct 2009 at dinner at home
I have read claims that Saumur “Brézé” – Clos Rougeard is one of France’s greatest white wines. This 1999, albeit very good, was not on than level but this may be a function of a less than stellar vintage. Colour was a brilliant yellow and the aromas were discreet but quite fresh and elegant with notes of exotic fruit, touches of apple and quince and the palate was long and elegant with good freshness and “gras” and quite lively acidity with its wood (which disconcerts when young) now fully integrated and only showing itself as a polished patina towards the finish; 16/20++.

Aug 2009 at a restaurant
Luckily my faith in the Loire was restored at the admirable Norman restaurant, Le Dauphin at Breuil-en-Auge. Saumur “Les Cormiers” 2002 – Château de Villeneuve (J-P Chevallier), from Chenin, was brilliant; it seamlessly combined a certain complexity and richness of body with a most appealingly fresh minerality and an excellent shape of the palate; I believe that this cuvée sees new oak but it was only discernable by a somewhat polished patina on the finish; 17/20+.

Oct 2009
Notes from a tasting -
Domaine des Roches-Neuves, Varrains, Saumur-Champigny
The estate was represented by the enthusiastic and articulate Thierry Germain. The estate has changed its philosophy completely to privilege minerality and fruit purity; the last vintage to see new wood was 2004. The first wine is Saumur from Chenin blanc and the rest are Saumur-Champigny from Cabernet franc.
(W) L’Insolite 2008 (€14) was a miracle of freshness, fruit purity (some citrus) and minerality with excellent length; 16.5/20++ QPR!!
Domaine des Roches Neuves 2007 (€9), the basic cuvée, followed the pattern of being more slim-line than my memory of 2006 but showed attractive freshness of fruit and minerality; 15/20+.
Terres Chaudes 2007 (€17) showed somewhat reductive aromas on the nose but was more floral and ample on the palate than Roches Neuves; if the reduction dissipates 15.5/20.
La Marginale 2006 (€25) was on a different level of elegance, depth, structure and complexity with an almost creamy touch to its fruit and fine minerality; needs more time for full expression 16.5/20.



I think that Chris Kissack has reviewed some of these on Wine Doctor and Jim Budd's blog may also contain references.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Richard Fadeley » Sat Jul 09, 2011 10:12 pm

Had a lovely co-op wine from Saumur, '09 Le Cabriole Saumur (chenin blanc), with a pan seared red trout yesterday for lunch with a white wine reduction, with shallots, garlic, wine and capers. It was a magical pairing. Everything worked. Some days are better than others. I will try to duplicate in 5-6 weeks, but don't hold much hope, but the wine held up its end of the deal.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Sun Jul 10, 2011 12:41 pm

Chenin blanc from the Touraine/Anjou heartland is my real Loire love, but the crisply fruity Sauvignon blanc derived whites from the Centre have a real place gastronomically and are probably more popular thus managing to fetch comparatively high prices especially from Sancerre and Pouilly-sur-Loire. This one is a prestige bottling from one of Sancerre’s best regarded modern producers.

Sancerre “Edmond” 2004 – Alphonse Mellot – Alc.13% - (c.€30 currently)
Colour was medium yellow and the nose was quite reticent at first showing mainly gooseberry but mineral and fruit complexity came up with exposure to air. In contrast there was almost too much going on the dry, quite full and dense but initially disjointed palate; white fruit with again a lot of gooseberry, minerals, lively moreish acidity and a creamy, caramel and liquorice structure towards the finish, which probably owed a lot to new wood which I can do without in Sancerre. However as the meal progressed focus improved and the wood notes fell into the background. It was probably too massive to be ideal for the sole but goat cheeses, which rarely fail with Loire white, brought out further minerality and an attractive honeysuckle undertow. I think that decanting would have benefited this wine as well as a bit more age. Very good but not yet equalling my best experiences with Sancerre from both Cotat estates; 16.5/20 with the goat cheese.

After writing this I looked up the wine’s very detailed “fiche technique” on the Mellot website (with apologies for their slightly odd translation) -

The Edmond Vintage is produced from old La Moussière vines between 40 and 87 years old.

Average yield: 41 hl/ha

It is picked in small 25 Kg boxes. All the grapes have been sorted by a sorting table and transported into the press by conveyor belt (whole grape pressing).


Area: 6 ha parcel.


Grape variety: Sauvignon blanc


Exposure: South - Southwest


Geology:
Soil: Saint-Doulchard marls (solids lumps).
Subsoil: Upper Lusitanian to Portlandian period cretaceous.


Planting density

8,000 to 10,000 vinestocks per hectare.


Viticulture

The vines are pruned by the simple Guyot method or Royat Cordon pruning.

The vineyard is trained in organic and biodynamic vine growing.


Wine - making

Sequential pneumatic pressing.
Static settling at temperatures below 10°C for about 48 hours.

Fermentation takes place in new casks for 60%, 20% in one wine casks and 20% in two wines casks at a temperature between 18 and 24°C.
The wood comes from predominantly French Bertrange oaks, the firewood of which is average and honey coloured. It is used for 228 l and 300 l casks, and 320 l flutes.

It is aged on fine lees and regularly pumped over a variable ageing period depending on the year (10 to 14 months on average).
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Bob Parsons Alberta » Sun Jul 10, 2011 11:12 pm

Another pointer that goat cheese is the main match for Sancerre! Nicos there in UK will approve Tim.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Mon Jul 11, 2011 5:54 am

Bob Parsons Alberta. wrote:Another pointer that goat cheese is the main match for Sancerre! Nicos there in UK will approve Tim.


Goat cheeses, especially those from Touraine itself, e.g. Sainte-Maure, Selles-sur-Cher and Pouligny St.Pierre, are also wonderful with Chenin wines, likes Vouvray, Montlouis, Jasnières, Saumur and Savennières. There are some goats from further south which are a bit too aggressive for the Centre and Touranaine/Anjou whites, indeed for any wine, particularly when very ripe.

BTW I have a running quarrel with Germaine because I remove the rinds of ripe goat cheeses when drinking wine because this is the aggressive part which gives difficulties in tasting the wine. She regards it as heresy.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Creighton » Mon Jul 11, 2011 11:00 am

dan, sorry i haven't replied but have been out of town. i like both the noble joue and the reuilly gris. never seen a noble joue in the US but have seen the reuilly. there are other under the radar things that i like too - jasnieres and coteaux du loir. the only chateaumeillant i've had was not very good; but i'm sue there must be some decent ones. a good place to taste the odd stuff is Vitiloire held at the end of may in Tours.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Tim York » Tue Jul 12, 2011 12:36 pm

Jasnières Les Rosiers 2002 - Domaine de Bellivière, Éric Nicolas - Alc.13.5% - (€19 for 05 and 06). This was a lovely example of dry Loire chenin, which revealed new facets as the wine aired and warmed. Colour was medium/deep yellow. The nose was expressive with mineral and white fruit (e.g.peach) to the fore and a distant background of wax, spice and quince. The palate was subjectively dry, superbly focussed, long, medium/light bodied and aromatically expressive with moreish crisp acidity, perhaps a touch of RS, lively fruit and minerals, a generously burnished and honeyed undertow, which is more frequent in demi-sec than dry, and a saline hint giving structure to the finish. IMO this is far more elegant and classy than the recent upmarket Sancerre from Mellot and I think that this is a function of the superior potential of the Chenin grape over Sauvignon blanc in suitable terroirs. Lovely; 17/20++

Note on Jasnières: this appellation is situated in the North of Touraine close to Le Loir river, which is a northerly tributary of La Loire. It, together with the broader Coteaux du Loir, have really become much more consistent in recent years due to a combination of better husbandry and warmer climate. This cuvée is made from younger vines (<50 years) and from 4 different plots of clay with flint on tuffeau (limestone). Bellivière is arguably the leading estate in the appellation http://www.belliviere.com/ .
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Andrew Bair » Wed Jul 13, 2011 7:41 pm

David Creighton wrote:dan, sorry i haven't replied but have been out of town. i like both the noble joue and the reuilly gris. never seen a noble joue in the US but have seen the reuilly. there are other under the radar things that i like too - jasnieres and coteaux du loir. the only chateaumeillant i've had was not very good; but i'm sue there must be some decent ones. a good place to taste the odd stuff is Vitiloire held at the end of may in Tours.


Here's my note on a Châteaumeillant from early 2008. (Sorry for posting a note on a red in a thread on Loire whites. :D ) Although Bourgeois is distributed well in my area, I haven't seen this wine since then.

2005 Henri Bourgeois Châteaumeillant Solissime
100% Pinot Noir, from a corner of the Loire that I was previously unfamiliar with. I did not know what to expect with this, but it is actually a nice, reasonably priced wine ($12) that should be able to improve for a couple of more years. A slightly leafy nose of red berries leads to a medium-bodied wine, moderately high in acidity, with surprisingly astringent tannins. Full of juicy cherry and blueberry fruit, with notes of minerals and dried herbs; finishes with a distinctive charcoal flavor.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby Dan Smothergill » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:01 pm

Tim York wrote:Note on Jasnières: this appellation is situated in the North of Touraine close to Le Loir river, which is a northerly tributary of La Loire.


Jasnières was the best discovery of our Loire trip. As Tim points out however, it's a bit off the beaten track. We went there on a day trip out of Tours. Next time we'll find a place to settle in that's midway between it and other regions to the east and south.
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Re: July Wine Focus: Loire Whites

Postby David Creighton » Fri Jul 15, 2011 12:33 pm

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.
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