A Cruise up the Loire Tasting

Thank you to all our guests who came out to our Cruise Up the Loire River Tasting. The Loire Valley is a massive and diverse area with its river stretching 1006km from the Massif Central to the Atlantic Coast. Tom and I had a blast showcasing six of our favourite Loire wines over the course of the evening.

We started with a light refreshing glass of Sauvion Crémant de Loire. Done in the same traditional method as Champagne, this sparkling wine is a blend of Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay. The wine is fruit-forward with just a hint of brioche, a perfect aperitif to start off the evening.

Our second wine was from the maritime coast of Sèvre et Maine: Department 44 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur Lie. Muscadet has an acidic backbone with a citrus and saline quality. Its unique feature separating it from other coastal whites is the stylistic use of lees in winemaking. Lees, dead yeast particles left over from the fermentation, add richness and complexity to the wine giving it a brioched creamy texture. This wine pairs wonderfully with seafood, in particular salty rich dishes like Moules Frites.

Third up and perhaps the crowd favourite of the night, La Taille aux Loups Montlouis Sur Loire. This incredible Chenin Blanc is from Jacky Blot, a non-interventionist winemaker. The wine showcases Chenin Blanc’s potential in terms of both bouquet and tension. This is a great pairing with a cheese board.

Switching to reds, our fourth wine was Domaine des Berris Saint Nicholas de Bourgueil Cabernet Franc. Saint Nicholas is known for some of the lighter Cabernet Francs in the Loire (compared to Chinon and Bourgueil) and often can be served chilled similarly to a light Beaujolais. This is an amazing food pairing wine. There is enough acid and fruit to hold up to sweeter bbq dishes like a burger or ribs, and the wine also has a slight vegetal quality from pyrazines (compounds found in the grape’s skins and pip) that allow it to pair well with vegetables.

The fifth wine and final red of the night was Domaine du Petit Clocher Anjou Villages.  This is a Cabernet Sauvignon-led blend from much further north than we are use to seeing Cabernet Sauvignon. The winemakers retain some freshness of fruit with half the wine being fermented in stainless steel.

Our final wine comes from the largest sweet wine region in the Loire, Coteaux du Layon: Domaine du Petit Clocher Cuvée Les Perrieres Coteaux du Layon. Wines from this region are characterised by the presence of a fungus called Botrytis or more commonly Noble Rot. This is vital to producing certain famous sweet wines (most famously Sauternes and Tokaji). The fungus shrivels the grapes, concentrating sugar and flavours, and gives the wine a honeyed exotic aroma. This wine would pair excellently with foie gras or pineapple upside-down cake.

Once again, thank you to everyone who came out to the tasting. Keep your eyes peeled to our website for more tasting to come!