The Loire Valley is a diverse region covering a large area of Central France. The diversity of grape varietals, excellent value and high proportion of small scale wine makers devoted to farming organically make it one of my favourites. From the crisp floral whites of Muscadet and Sancerre to the fuller bodied Chenin Blancs to the fresh light reds that are Cabernet Franc. Today’s offer includes Sauvignon Blanc and Rose from one of Sancerre’s big guns Gérard Boulay, in the village of Chavignol. Then in Montlouis we have the textural Chenin Blancs of François Chidaine and across the river in Vouvray, Domaine Huet.
To round things off, the stunning Cabernet Franc from Domaine des Roches Neuves (also his great value Anjou Chenin Blanc) and the brilliant value wines of Jo Landron in Muscadet. Finally a delicious Cheverny Sauvignon Blanc from Domaine du Salvard. Enjoy and remember if there is anything not listed that you would like please email us!
Much like the man himself, the engaging Muscadets of Jo Landron brim with life and personality. These finely-etched soil-specific wines represent the antithesis of the bland, neutral, over cropped produce that has sadly become the regional norm. Jo Landron, who learnt to farm the land from his father, took control of the family domaine 1990. His philosophy, driven by the conviction that the essence of great Muscadet is expressed through the minerality of its terroir, has raised the regional bar so high that only the granite-infused bottling from the great Guy Bossard rivals these Muscadets for sheer intensity of flavour and distinctive, electric energy.
Domaine du Salvard
Domaine du Salvard has been a standard-bearer in Cheverny – the Loire Valley appellation which snakes along the left bank of the Loire from Sologne to the outskirts of Orleans – ever since Maurice Delaille bought this property in 1890, replanting the vineyards and renovating the estate. It has subsequently passed through five generations of the Delaille family. Today, 42 hectares of vineyards are farmed by brothers Emmanuel and Thierry who have carried on the traditions established by their ancestors, producing authentic, handcrafted Cheverny of the highest order.
Domaine Huet was founded in 1928 by Victor Huet, however it was his son, Gaston, who was to make this Estate one of the greatest France had ever known. Gaston worked with his father until 1937, after which he took full control. Over the next five decades, Gaston drove the Huet name to greater and greater heights. He inherited the Haut-Lieu vineyard and went on to purchase Clos du Bourg in 1953 and the Le Mont site in 1957. These three great terroirs were the foundations on which Domaine Huet’s reputation was forged. Widely considered to be the single greatest Vouvray domaine and one of the foremost white wine producers in the world today, Domaine Huet should require little introduction.
Domaine Francois Chidaine
François Chidaine is one of the France’s most exciting white wine makers. It’s not hype – the wines are terrific and the winemaking approach is impeccable. Great vineyards managed biodynamically, ultra low yields and ‘hands off’ élevage are the order of the day here. As we have written before, Chidaine has achieved for Chenin what Didier Dagueneau achieved (and Benjamin Dagueneau has continued to achieve) with Sauvignon: wines of staggering texture and complexity. It gives you an idea of Chidaine’s standing in the Loire that when Benjamin Dagueneau wanted to gain experience as a younger man, he went to work with Chidaine.
Domaine des Roche Neuves
In many ways, Thierry Germain is a producer that is extremely rare in the tiny Saumur-Champigny appellation; a grower producing wine of such quality that they demand the world sit up and take notice. And the style of wine produced here is not only totally unique, but has evolved significantly for the better in recent years. In short, at Domaine Des Roches Neuves, Germain has achieved for Cabernet Franc in Saumur what, for example, Francois Chidaine has achieved with Chenin in Montlouis; wines of swaggering texture, complexity and thrilling deliciousness made with a passion and outward looking mentality that has had a galvanizing effect on the region as a whole. In doing so Germain, himself inspired by the wines of the reclusive Foucault brothers at Clos Rougeard, has motivated small legion of local growers – no less than eleven producers have followed him into organic or biodynamic practices.