L'Elégance is the first Henri Bourgeois wine to be closed with a screwcap. Clearly this would not be news in Australia or New Zealand but the Loire continues to lag behind in its adoption of screwcaps when many of its whites, such as Sauvignon and particularly Muscadet, are susceptible to cork taint.
Dinner was partridge cooked en papilotte on a bed of mousseron and moistened with a little Morris Liqueur Muscat from Rutherglen, Australia. I cut the sweetness of the Muscat with fresh squeezed orange juice as well as give a bit of bite. The big, powerful 1988 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico, Masi Agricola was an excellent match. Unfortunately due to my recent cold-flu bug courtesy of the European Wine Bloggers Conference (probably should be renamed the wine buGGers conference!) I was unable to detect the wine's aromas. However in the mouth its soft palate, tarry, figgy and pruney fruit was ideal for my now recovering throat.
Bourgeois and Masi are both family owned and, although their production is quite substantial, the quality across the range remains consistent and impressive. Obviously they are not global volume brands but they are both significant players in their respective regions.
Which got me thinking again about Jamie Goode's post on WineFuture Rioja09: 9th November 2009.
'I don't think the future of the wine industry will be determined top-down by the famous people who currently 'lead' the wine industry.
'Instead, I think it will come from an under-the-radar movement of dedicated winegrowers who are prepared to understand the vineyards they work with and make interesting, authentic, characterful wines.
Very few of these winegrowers would be at all interested in a conference like this. They make wine not because they want to make money, but because they have to. These new great wines are made by people who see winegrowing as their vocation. Their focus starts in the vineyard and they work as naturally as possible. Typically, they prefer large oak to small, old oak to new, and concrete to stainless steel.
I am allowed to be provocative, I would say that Winefuture is about the old wine industry. The new wine industry will emerge from the corpse of the old industry. The secret revolution is underway.'
I'm sure that there is truth in what Jamie says and that there are many small producers making interesting and authentic wines but that is probably not enough to keep the market supplied. It is essential that a region has entry level wines that are true to their place and are well made. if that is not the case there is always the likelihood that new drinkers will be put off and go elswhere and not discover the interesting, authentic wines being made in the region. Although neither Bourgeois nor Masi concentrate on the entry level both have a sufficient volume of good wines at various price points that give the adventurous drinker the confidence to explore their regions further.