(2017) OVNI = 'Objet Viticole Non Identifié', is Mourat's playful name for wines that he labels "anti-conformist," and different from what you might expect. This Chenin Blanc from organic vineyards is vinified in concrete 'eggs' and has a beautifully precise nose, aromas of gentle flowers, crunchy green apple and a touch of straw or melon rind. In the mouth it is crystal clear too. Is there just a touch of rounding old oak? There's certainly texture and a hint of creaminess, but its the dazzling freshness of the sweet fruit and crunchy acidity that drives this terrific wine. Even better, Daily Drinker club members buy for £11.25. Watch the video for more information and food matching ideas.
(2016) What a charming Pinot - more than charming - from this conscientious winemaker in the Vendée, made in cement 'eggs' and spending six months in Tronçais oak. It has that lovely edge of brisk, cherry and raspberry fruit and a certain sappiness, briar and twigs and all the hallmarks of genuinely cool climate, natural Pinot Noir, the palate flooded with sweet red berry fruit but against that juicy and firm core of acidity and tight tannin, and again that tangy, edgy balance that Burgundy lovers will take to instantly. A terrifically refined and poised wine.
(2016) From 90-year-old vines grown in the foothills of the Massif Central in the Loire Valley, this is Gamay St. Romain, the local variant of the Beaujolais grape, made in cement tanks and unoaked. The colour is surprisingly deep, though not dense, then really charming vinous aromas of cherry and kirsch, black fruits and the most elegant spice as well as some floral nuances. A lovely sappy edge of almost stony minerality on the palate, delicate still, but there is a framework of tannin and pert acidity underpinning that. A seriously lovely Gamay from a less familiar source.
(2016) I love the peach and nectarine downy and delicate aromatics of this wine, glistening with dew=drop freshness. On the palate a little hint of something flinty, but also of the passionfruit exoticism and indeed, a touch of nettle, pressing all the Sauvignon buttons is a beautifully clear and dry, restrained yet welcoming style. Truly lovely stuff, but unfortunately out of stock with FVD at time of review, so I have included a wine-searcher link to find other stockists.
(2016) This Loire rosé made from Pinot Noir is a personal favourite with FvD's owner Esme Johnsons, and offers a refined raspberry and cherry freshness and hint of tannin as it hits the palate to add seriousness. Huge acid backbone adds a savoury elegance and structure, but still fresh and easily approachable.
(2016) Although sparkling red wines from Australia are not uncommon, to find one - made from Cabernet Franc - from the central Loire Valley in France is much more unusual. This is also demi-sec, or 'half dry', so after a nose of cocoa, mulberry, cassis and plum comes a just - just - off dry palate with racy red and black berry fruit and a lovely cherry-skin freshness of acidity. Unusual and at time of writing down to £9.99 as part of a mixed half dozen. Watch the video for full review and food-matching ideas.
(2015) One of the great, great names of the Loire valley on superb form, this demi-sec or 'half dry' Chenin Blanc is everything that so many others of this style might aspire to. Such intriguing honeyed richness here, swirling with light smokiness and vanilla, but whilst hinting at the ripe and exotic it is the mineral and gravel notes that are adding so much more complexity. Quite luscious, the orangey brightness of the acidity playing against gorgeous ripe apple and more exotic nectarine sweetness, it is long and utterly beautiful.
(2015) It's summer (it's official) so time to crack open one of the ultimate summer wines: Muscadet. The Melon de Bourgogne vines are 50 - 70 years old for this wine, matured on its lees with regular bâtonnage for six months - and coming from a cracking Loire vintage. Sour lemon and salts, with a touch of something herby and leafy on the nose, this is typical but also complex Muscadet. The palate is riven with acidity, but there are punchy flavours here, tangy and ripe citrus, and a great thrust of that salt-licked, ozone acidity in the finish.
(2015) Though Château de Tracy is not named on the label, that is the source of this Sauvignon Blanc made with the consultation of renowned Bordeaux white wine specialist Denis Dubourdieu. Video-reviewed as one of my Wines of the Week. What a fine nose, smoky mineral depths but also passion fruit and guava exoticism, hints of soft herb leafiness, but sultry and understated in its way, On the palate perfect balance, all juiciness and squirting citrus freshness, but all the time that smokiness, hint of spice, and sense of richness is in play. Long finish here, and a pure, lingering intensity. £13.95, The Wine Society.
(2015) Farming with "as organic an approach to viticulture as the climate allows," this is Loire Sauvignon Blanc from an appellation near Sancerre, where vineyards are planted on similar Kimmeridgian clay soils. The nose does have a punch of gooseberry and nettles, leafy green herbs, but also a lightly creamy lime fruit quality and just hints of the tropical. In the mouth the fruit is abundantly ripe and sweet, washing across the tongue quite luxuriously, though the steely and salty lick of the acidity balances the long finish. Very stylish.