I attended a delightful tasty tasting hosted by Tom King from the restaurant, RSJ in London www.rsj.uk.com. RSJ have won awards for their wine list which presents over 250 wines from the Loire Valley! So what else would we taste but wine from the Loire.
I feel that the Loire Valley can be underrated and over shadowed by the big names of Bordeaux and Burgundy. You may have heard of wines such as Sancerre or the Pouilly Fume and think that’s all the Loire has to offer but there is so much more. So many styles sparkling, dry, sweet, white, rose and red., a style can be found to satisfy any palate.
To begin the evening we had a 2009 Crement de Loire from Domaine de Nerleux. The grape variety to make this sparkling wine is 70% Chenin Blanc 30% Chardonnay and made in the tradition way (aka the champagne method). It has a fresh biscuit nose with a creamy texture on the palate. Loire sparkling is great value for money and a great alternative to champagnes.
2009 Muscadet Sur Lie, Le Clos des Alles. Sur Lie means it has been left on its lees (left on the yeasts) This gives the wine more body. The grape used is the Melon de Bourgogne which is not used anywhere else in the world but here. Fantastic with shell fish!
Anjou Blanc ‘Petit Prince’ Domaine de Bablut. The Chenin Blanc grape pops up again but this time in a dry style wine. Wow, I’m loving the nose, its just oozing tropical fruits and mineral freshness with a slight smoky touch. Refreshing acidity on the palate bringing through the fruits followed by a good length to enjoy.
The next two styles are made from the Sauvignon Blanc which is the grape that makes Sancerre and Pouilly Fume however we have two different examples. A 2010 Sauvignon Touraine, Domaine Clos Roussely and a 2009 Reuilly, Les Lignis.
Sauvingon Blanc would not be my first choice of wine but I must say I thoroughly enjoyed these wines and would reach for them again, both were individual and didn’t show a one dimensional wine that I find you can get with Sauvignon Blanc. The Touraine showed a surprisingly tropical complex nose and the Reuilly was a much more elegant sophisticated wine.
The reds were just as delightful to taste, starting with the 2009 Domaine Clos from the Touraine showing the Gamey grape which is known for making Beaujolais wine. No typical bubblegum flavours present! Light black cherries, soft tannins and smooth finish. Ideal for summer drinking.
2009 St Nicolas de Bourgueil, Les Rouilleres. Made from Cabernet Franc in stainless steal this is a young fresh wine full of black fruits, soft ripe and nice acidity.
2010 Saumur Champigny, Domaine des Roches Neuves. The winemaker of this Domaine, Thierry Germain won French winemaker of the year! Which is an incredible feat. This wine has only just reached the bottle so it was quite exciting to drink a wine so young. A good funky nose almost meaty with black fruits and liquorice.
To complete the variety we have a Coteaux du Layon, 2009 from Domaine Ogereau.
We have seen this grape in its sparkling form and it performs well, amazing in a dry wine so, what will Chenin Blanc be like as a sweet wine? Expect nothing less than perfection. Elegant, honey, flowers, luscious mouth watering acidity. I’m in a happy place.
If you haven’t looked at the Loire, I urge you to do so, it has some superb wines that don’t carry a hefty price tag which is always a bonus.
I will in the near future put on a Loire tasting as it is so diverse…watch this space and book your place.