Awards and citations:

1997: Le Prix du Champagne Lanson Noble Cuvée Award for investigations into Champagne for the Millennium investment scams

2001: Le Prix Champagne Lanson Ivory Award for

2011: Vindic d'Or MMXI – 'Meilleur blog anti-1855'

2011: Robert M. Parker, Jnr: ‘This blogger...’:

2012: Born Digital Wine Awards: No Pay No Jay – best investigative wine story

2012: International Wine Challenge – Personality of the Year Award

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Loire: some bottles enjoyed sur place – March/April 2012

2002 demi-sec Le Haut-Lieu, Domaine Huet
 Wonderfully well balanced vintage, some evolution, delicate sweetness matched by precise acidity 

Some bottles drunk and enjoyed during our three week stay in Touraine from mid-March to early April. 

2004 Sancerre Rouge, Domaine Vacheron 
 2004 was not the easiest of vintages – some attractive fruit but toughish tannins from a time the domaine used more wood for their reds than they do now. Admittedly a different vintage but the emphasis in their 2010 Sancerre, drunk at the La Tour restaurant in Sancerre, is much more on the fruit.     

2005 Éclipse, Saint Nicola-de-Bourgueil, Frédéric Mabileau 

A couple of 2005 reds – one from Frédéric Mabileau and the other from Château Pierre-Bise. Both showing well with the potential to age further. The Pierre-Bise is the more ready to drink as Frédéric's Éclipse really needs more time.      

2005 Gorges, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Auguste Bonhomme

2005 Gorges, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Martin-Luneau

2009 Jubiliation Le Pallet, Vignerons du Pallet

We tried another three examples of new Muscadet crus communaux with two from Gorges and one from Le Pallet. Of the three Le Pallet was the least complex. Dangerous, I know, to draw any conclusions from just one bottle but I wonder whether the slightly shorter minimum aging on the lees for the wines from Le Pallet – 17 months compared to 24 for Clisson and Gorges – plays any part here.  Of the two 2005s from Gorges the Auguste Bonhomme was especially fine. Once again you have to forgot your traditional ideas of Muscadet and be prepared for a much fuller and more complex wine that will show best with more elaborate fish dishes than customary fruits de mers or moules marinières

2005 La Moussière, Sancerre Blanc, Alphonse Mellot

Les Alphonses 'basic' Sancerre is developing nicely and was served at a dinner with friends with a small selection of cheese including some local goat.

2006 Côt, AC Touraine, Clos Roche Blanche
Rich, delicious black fruits showing that Côt (Malbec and Auxerrois as in Cahors are synonyms) is probably the best red variety in the Cher Valley. As far as I can make out it will still be possible to sell 100% Côt under the insane new Touraine AC rules fashioned by bureaucracy and probably marketing conditions, while ignoring tradition, true 'typicity' and terroir in its widest sense. 

Sadly this next wine will be outlawed under the new AC Touraine Fou régime: 

2008 Cuvée de Fié Gris, Vieille Vigne, AC Touraine, Domaine Jacky Preys
Still quite difficult to find, Sauvignon Gris is often more interesting and complex than its more assertive cousin – Sauvignon Blanc. Jacky Preys has long made an excellent Fié Gris and has been instrumental in its revivial. The 2008 was a lovely bottle with weight, spice, delicacy with some floral notes, too, and more complex than many Touraine Sauvignons. Under the new Touraine regulations Sauvignon Gris can only make up 20% of the blend for AC Touraine Blanc. I hope the Preys family will continue to make this and sell it as a vin de pays or as a Vin de France. My guess is that they have built a sufficient reputation for this wine not to need the new fatally flawed Appellation Touraine Contrôlée label.

2009 petites grappes sur Basalte, Côtes d'Auvergne, Caves de Verny

2011 Enjoy, Côtes d'Auvergne Rosé 

Two impressive wines from the Caves de Verny, a cave co-operative at Veyre Monton in the Côtes d’Auvergne, kindly given to me to try by Fabrice Dagaut at the excellent Bon Laboureur hotel restaurant in Chenonceaux. Fabrice has recently started to list these wines.  2011 Enjoy (a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir) is an ideal pale rosé for a summer apéritif – red fruits and a fresh clean finish, while the Basalte is a concentrated Gamay coming from low yielding vines – only 25 hl/ha. It will surprise people used to drinking (or avoiding) dilute Gamays that often give this variety a poor reputation.
2011 Les marcottes, Gamay AC Touraine, Lionel Gosseaume
Another example of a delicious Gamay, this time from Touraine in the commune of Choussy, just to the west of Oisly and made by Lionel Gosseaume. Not a wine to analyse rather one to enjoy with friends. I hope Lionel hasn't been too badly hit by the frost in mid-April.  

 2010 Pinot Noir Marigny-Neuf, Ampelidae, Frédéric Brochet

2010 Sauvignon, Marigny-Neuf, Ampelidae, Frédéric Brochet

Two wines (samples) from Frédéric Brochet's Ampelidae: both from 2010 – a Pinot Noir and a Sauvignon Blanc. The Pinot Noir is exuberantly juicy in a modern style made to drink young, while the Sauvignon is more restrained and more classic.    

Cuvée JM Monmousseau, Touraine

Ackerman bought the Touraine sparkling wine producer, Monmousseau, in the autumn of 2010. Cuvée JM (sample) is a creamy, pure Chenin aged for between 24 and 36 months in the cellars on the eastern side of Montrichard. Available direct on-line for customers in France for 45€ for six bottles. 

2009 Vent d'Anges, Pouilly-Fumé, Régis Minet
An impressively fine Pouilly-Fumé from Régis Minet with lovely racy, minerality. Added to the list of producers that I need to visit. Profile by Kermit Lynch here.   


Unknown said...

Hi Jim - nice to see the interesting bottles you've been drinking. I was in touch with Lionel recently who said that he had between 15 and 70% damage from frost depending upon the parcel. He estimates that an average of 50% of his vines were affected. He said that obviously it's disappointing for him but remains upbeat saying 'le gel fait malheureusement partie des risques du métier. Il faut l’accepter'.

Jim's Loire said...

Thanks Cathy. I feared Lionel would have been hit and have been meaning to email him. Such a shame for the growers affected.

Luc Charlier said...

Had Vacheron’s 2010 twice myself in the space of a few weeks last year, Jim. A beauty indeed.