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Loire – The Garden of France (part 2)


After lunch I headed over to the red wine country of Chinon and St. Nicolas de Bourgueil. We began working with a domaine in Bourgueil last year who produces both Bourgueil and St. Nicolas de Bourgueil. The 2006 Cabernet Franc wines in the region are very similar to 2006 red Burgundy – more ripe and concentrated than 2004, but less structured than 2005. They tend to be fruit forward and plump – a nice combination for Cabernet Franc which can be austere and tight when young (and as a result misunderstood). The evening drew to a close with a manic drive across the central valley, past Tours and into Vouvray where I was patiently awaited by Noël Pinguet of Domaine Huet. His 2006s were voluptuous and his 2007s wonderfully racy. 2006 expressed itself both here and in Sancerre like it did in white Burgundy – upfront and lower in acidity. 2007 is a different beast – crisp, clean and ultra refreshing. Huet’s were spectacular with wonderful concentration and expression. We have not worked much with Huet before, but we may fancy doing an offer a bit later on once the wines are bottled so watch this space!

The following morning, I had a quick visit with the jovial Christophe Pichot tasting his new 2007s which again are more focused and fresh than the plush and pretty 2006s. Despite being in the midst of serious châteaux territory (Chenonceaux, Amboise, Chaumont and Chambord to name a few), my next appointment in Menetou-Salon was waiting 2.5 hours away. Though Morogues is a blink of a village, in all true form, I of course got lost trying to find Henry Pellé. This is most due to a lack of signs as well as a lack of roads on the GPS system. But Paul-Henry, Anne’s son was all smiles when I arrived. A tour through their cool cellars confirmed 2007’s enticing vivacity and as Paul-Henry commented, a very Loire vintage that expresses personality and terroir.

A short drive away lying in the village Chaudoux is the Reverdy family (Claudine and Noël that is – there are at least 5). Delightful and wonderfully sweet, they showed me their cellars before guiding me through a thorough tasting of their cuvées accompanied by Crottin de Chavignol. Though we began working with them last year, we had never actually been to their domaine to visit them. And I must say that I could not have been more charmed. They’re locally famous for their rosé but their white is aromatic and oh so Sauvignon – a delicious treat at the end of a challenging day. Their 2007 rosé will be making an appearance very soon…