(2017) Red wines that can be lightly chilled are a summer pleasure. Thoughts turn to Gamay and Cabernet Franc, but this is another Loire variety called Grolleau, often made as rosé and here as a crunchily fresh red. Small, firm berries, herbs and a crack of pepper on the nose, then a palate that is not short of that dry, cranberry and raspberry fruit, but has such a clear line of acidity, gentle tannins and that fine herby, sappy character that it is an easy-drinking delight. £11.70 for Daily Drinker Club members. Watch the video for more information and food-matching ideas.
(2017) From the Loire Valley, this is a Vin 'Gris', a local description for the wine style you and I know as rosé. It's made from the indigenous Pineau d'Aunis variety, and comes from a small vineyard specifically managed to make this rosé wine. The colour is fashionably pale, and it has mouth-watering aromas that immediately suggest it will be dry and savoury, with small red fruits and a crack of pepper, and a fine raspberry-like suggestion of tartness. In the mouth there's a certain creaminess, but its that crisp red fruit and crunchy red apple freshness that pushes forward, some real presence here, even a nip of spicy tannin, and a good long finish.
(2017) Cabernet Franc from clay-sandy soils in the Loire Valley, and a sixth generation wine estate. Nicely translucent, deep cherry colour and a fruit-filled nose, brimming with raspberry and plum, a lovely hint of black leaf tea and gentle herbaceous character that is very appealing. In the mouth that refined, dry black fruit and herbal edge continues to delight, a dustiness to the tannins and juicy acids making this very easy to drink indeed.
(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.