'Top 10 Loire wines – the value and variety of lesser-known labels can be surprising'
(Jonathan Ray, wine correspondent, Telegraph 31.1.09)
‘I love the Loire Valley. I love gawping at the exquisite fairytale châteaux and scoffing the fabulous seafood and confit de canard.
The sauvignons blancs (such as Menetou-Salon, Pouilly Fumé, Quincy, Sancerre and Savennières) make great aperitifs or partners to first courses….’
‘And if the top Sancerres and Pouilly Fumés are sometimes a bit pricey, then the less well-known (but often as good) sauvignons from Quincy, Reuilly or Savennières, say, rarely are.’
Oops Jonathan! Savennières is one of the glories of Chenin Blanc. Indeed it may have been its birthplace, although Jean-Hubert Lebreton (Domaine des Rochelles) surprised me last week by telling me that apparently Chenin’s origins may have been much further south in Les Landes. Anyway Chenin is mentioned growing at Bouchemaine in the 9th century. So a Savennières made from Sauvignon Blanc would be both ‘surprising’ and ‘less well-known’.
Also if I’m being picky, which I am, I agree about the ‘fabulous seafood’ but confit de canard is not a particular speciality of the Loire.
Jonathan, however, is right about Loire Sauvignon Blancs going well with first courses. A half bottle of the attractively citric 2007 Les Vignes Blanches, Sancerre, Henri Bourgeois was perfect with a duo of smoked salmon and gravalax yesterday.