(2020) Calvet is one brand of a group called 'Les Grands Chais de France', whom I visited a few years ago, discovering what a true giant of the French wine industry it is, owning numerous estates and brands from across the country. I also discovered that quality is excellent overall, including this Sauvignon from Menetou-Salon, a fine appellation that adjoins Sancerre. Lemon and lightly nettley aromas lead on to firm stone fruit and some delicate white flower touches. In the mouth it is tectured and quite weighty, with plenty of citrus and slightly fatter/riper yellow plum and peach, the acidity sheer and well-balanced into a long, fresh finish.
(2020) Touraine, towards the centre of the Loire Valley, tends to produce well-balanced Sauvignon Blanc from its clay, flint and limestone soils. This example is perhaps a little punchier and more herbaceous than is typical of the regional style, the elderflower and passionfruit character to the fore. In the mouth there's loads of lemony fruit and acidity, it perhaps suffers slightly from a bit of sweet 'n sour character, but the overall effect is zesty, fruity and fresh.
(2020) Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, quite a rich colour to this, with a touch of copper to the green, and plenty of toast, nuttiness and autolytic richness on the nose, Cox's pippin fruit and touches of preserved lemon. The palate has a mouthfilling style, with abundant fruit sweetness and I'd guess a relatively high dosage, lots of apple here - again nutty English apples, a little bit of phenolic grip like lemon peel or melon rind, and a finish where the inherent sweetness is balanced by good acidity. This bottle disgorged July 2020.
(2020) A fabulous wine this, that I last tasted in the 2014 vintage. It comes from Kimmeridgian soils (à la Chablis) in this family domaine, made by winemaker Annick Tinel-Blondelet, who's been in charge here since 1983. Pure Sauvignon Blanc, but so, so different from a typical New World expression, all about cool, restrained fruit and minerality, just hints of stone fruits and waxy lemons. In the mouth that sense of purity again, but also intensity and concentration, a streaking citrus fruit is mouth-watering, a little chalkiness, and a pin-sharp finish of fruit and acidity. £15.99 as part of a mixed six. Watch the video for more information and food-matching suggestions.
(2020) The 'Sur Lie' bit means the wine has been aged on its 'lees', the spent yeast cells that gather post-fermentation, to add texture and richness. Crunchy apple fruit on the nose, lemon, showing just a hint of the briney character of these seaside wines. On the palate it has surprisingly sweet fruit: wines of this appellation can often be bone-dry, being all about the salty, chalky dry minerality that is heaven-sent for shellfish and seafood, but this has upfront fruit, edging into the tropical spectrum. A hint of sweetness to the finish is swept up in good acidity, so it does finish with clarity.
(2019) A unusual Pinot Gris from vineyards in the Muscadet area of the Loire, and therefore classified as an IGP Val de Loire rather than Muscadet. Its 'flute' bottle gives it a rather Alsace look, and indeed the stuff inside has something in common with Pinot Gris from Alsace, including some residual sugar. And like Alsace, there's no way to tell that from the label which is a source of potential confusion for a thoroughly nice wine. Some floral, candy and citrus notes on the nose are attractive, a little stone-fruit, peachy character too. In the mouth there is good intensity here, definite sweetness, but a big rushing core of acidity sweeps the wine along to a balanced finish. For me, a banker for Thai or spicier Chinese cuisine.
(2019) Made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this is a wine made by the traditional method with long secondary fermentation in individual bottles. It pours with fine bubbles, a pale straw colour, and immediately attractive nose; crisp and fruity but with enough creamy character from its time on the lees. In the mouth it's a lovely, easy-drinking style, very fresh and free-flowing with orchard fruits and a zippy lemony acidity that is delicate and summery, with no tartness, into a finely-honed finish.
(2019) What a lovely Sauvignon Blanc, and quite a different expression from the Loire big hitters of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Part of that is down to the 18 months this unoaked wine stayed on the lees, meaning that even with only 12.5% alcohol it has texture and creaminess as well as vivid fruit. There's a touch of honey and apricot to the otherwise pristine apple and citrus aromas and flavours, nuttiness from the lees ageing rather than anything grassy, and a rounded, balanced finish.
(2019) Around the mouth of the River Loire, the slate and granite soils of Muscadet produce wines prized for their freshness and tang. I don't come across too many sub-£6 wines that I can recommend these days, but this is one: it is not a Muscadet 'Sur Lie' so misses some of that yeasty, more saline character, but the fruit is bright and clear, all dry apple and lemon with an apple core bite of dryness to the acidity of the finish making it very seafood and sushi friendly. Watch the video for more information.
(2019) Made from 100% Pinot Noir, a short maceration gives a delicate pale rosé, watemelon and pretty rose-hip aromas lead on to a dry palate, lots of refreshing acidity sweeping along the small red berry fruit, a nice touch of ripeness giving a suggestion more tropical fruit mid-palate, but cleansing lemon to finish. All pink Sancerre is relatively expensive, as it this, on pure bangs per buck terms.