(2023) There are many appellations of the Loire Valley where Sauvignon Blanc is the most prized grape variety, including the Coteaux du Giennois, not far from Sancerre. Part of the 'Taste the Difference' range, this has a fresh tinge of emerald to the colour, and aromas of white flowers and crisp orchard fruit. There's a suggestion of grassy herbaceousness in the background. In the mouth it's a very pleasing, relatively delicate Sauvignon. The acidity is there OK, but it flows from a sweetly-fruited, easy-drinking mid-palate with a suggestion of candied fruit, through to a pithy grapefruit and lime cordial finish. Watch the video for more information.
(2022) From 25-year-old vines on clay and limestone soils, this is a powerful rendition of Sancerre at 14% abv. That fat and generosity is apparent, the nose full of a confit lemon fruitiness, hints of peach and a leafy green herb aspect, but it has definition too. The palate has so much ripeness that it tastes a little sweet, and that butts agains the acidity somewhat. There's no faulting the plump and approachable charm of the wine, but not sure it is my favourite Sancerre style.
(2022) Winemaker and owner Jacky Blot is a trailblazer for quality in the Montlouis appellation, growing Chenin Blanc on 45 hectares where chemical treatments are "practically non-existent," and yields dramatically low, averaging 25hl/ha. Malolactic fermentation is avoided, and the wines are matured in barriques of varying ages. This is a stunning example of Loire Chenin Blanc, a hint of gold to the colour, and the nose showing beeswax and ripe apple, with an undertow of nougat. In the mouth the full texture has a waxiness too, a nuttiness perhaps like Cox's pippin apples, and it is utterly mouth-watering. A pithy, dry finish adds to the gastronomic appeal of this delicious wine.
(2022) Cabernet Franc from the limestone soils of Saumur-Champigny and a family winery. Really lovely fragrant nose, with lots of ripeness in this 2017 vintage, a touch of earthiness but clean and ripe black fruits. The fruit dry and savoury, but again such layered creamy black fruit, concentrated and ripe from a low-yielding year. Long and delicious.
(2022) From 100-year old vines, this lees-aged Melon de Bourgogne comes from the western Loire, close to the Atlantic coast. It has a golden colour after four years in bottle, and a succulent, nicely maturing character of waxy lemon rind and juicy apple, with a hint of ocean spray. The palate has that juiciness too, a hint of nutty maturity, but lovely mouth-filling texture and balance. Long and delicious. Part of the special 10% off offer for wine-pages visitors until end September 2022.
(2022) From Reuilly, not far from Sancerre and using mostly similar grapes, this however is Pinot Gris. Though often made as a white wine, the variety does develop deep pink skins. An interesting coppery gold colour, there's custard and cream over ripe yellow apple fruitiness, but there's reserve too with a stony suggestion of minerality. Rounded and creamy stone fruits on the palate with a hint of spice and lively acid. Different and very good.
(2022) Cabernet Franc along with some Grolleau and Gamay, from the very traditional Loire appellation of Rosé d'Anjou. It's quite a vibrant and slightly deeper salmon colour, the nose not giving much except a vague citrus and hint of redcurrant. Sweet on the palate - too sweeet for me - with Eton mess flavours and though there is acid, it's a style that might work with - Eton mess - but certainly requires a sweet tooth. If you fancy it, look out for promotions and discounts.
(2022) From the Corent appellation that is only for rosé wines, this comes from a co-op in the Puy-de Dôme département and is a wine I really enjoyed for its bite and 'certainty'. Perhaps the volcanic soils gave the Pinot Noir and Gamay that edge, but the palate has a fat, pure lemony thrust that scythes through the small red berries, into a long, concentrated and decisive finish. Pretty delicious.
(2022) From granite soils, this Melon de Bourgogne spent a full three years on the lees in concrete vats. Super breezy and fresh, there is iodine and ozone and a crisp citrus and ripe apple fruit personality. In the mouth that bracing lick of seaside air is somehow still evident, a delightful featherlight breeziness of flavour, juicy acids and a long and delightful finish. A little star.
(2022) The chamelon Cabernet Franc can reach high alcohols, but here a very modest 12.5% does for a certified organic Anjou wine made in concrete tanks. It is pretty, brightly red-fruitd and has a certain floral and green herb lift. In the mouth it is lightweight and elegant, with nicely ripe fruit, no great length, but good balance as some spices join the modest tannins and pert cherry acid of the finish. Useful summer drinking, maybe lightly chilled.