Jacqueline Friedrich: The Wine Humanist WINE BY PEOPLE, FOR PEOPLE; WINE FROM THE HEART

Selected Works

Wine Guide
An indispensable, user-friendly guide to France’s best and best-value wines. Don’t leave home without it!
Wine & Food Guide
The first and only in-depth guide to the wines and foods of the Loire.
My various reflections on Didier Dagueneau compiled and posted here.
For Those Who Want Yesterday's Papers
My Previously Published (and retrievable) Articles
Website Supplement
A guide to the people who make frequent appearances in FrenchFeast and their gastronomic (or other) tales.
Wine Tours

A Wine & Food Guide to the Loire

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The book won the following Best Wine & Spirits Book of the Year award: James Beard, IACP (Julia Child), Veuve Cliquot, Decanter magazine, Robert Parker (The Wine Advocate). Jancis Robinson has placed it on her list of favorite wine books.

I have signed a contract with University of California Press for a completely revised and updated edition. In the meantime, I'll continue to post notes on the site. (NB: The Loire tasting notes in this section date from before February 2008. Since February 2008 all tasting notes, including the Loire, are in the aptly titled Tasting Notes section.)

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For recent Loire tasting notes, scroll past Blurbs. Also, check FrenchFeast for notes on the Loire wine weekend chez moi.

Three Blurbs from the book’s cover:

“I wish every wine region had its Friedrich: an outsider on the inside track. She is perceptive and painstaking and writes with clear, decisive strokes. Nor does she forget that the Loire is Rabelais country; the pleasure principle is uppermost. This is not only essential reference, it is mouth-watering.”
--Hugh Johnson, author (Shakespeare, remember?)

“I’ve waited twenty years for this book. I am truly impressed by it and so grateful for its existence... (F)or decades we will be grateful that (it was written by) somone of Jacqueline Friedrich's talent and passion.”
--Jancis Robinson, MW, author, broadcaster with major (and ever-expanding) website www.jancisrobinson.com

“Few wine books ring with the depth of understanding, authority, and passion that Jacqueline Friedrich achieves in this, her first opus. It is a pioneering work... I would not even think of visiting the Loire without it.”
--Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator


Below are notes on some 250 Loire wines. Most were tasted at the Salon des Vins de Loire at the beginning of February as well as at an “Off” tasting of organic and biodynamic wines held the day before the Salon began. A handful of the wines were tasted at other events – eg tastings organized by groups like Gens du Metier, Vignobles & Signatures or at the tasting held at the French Senate in conjunction with the Association de la Presse du Vin ceremony awarding restaurants with the best wine lists.

The notes are organized alphabetically by domaine – ignoring words like “chateau,” “domaine” as well as first names and le, les, la etc. I’ve written the tasting notes in the order in which the wines were presented to me.

(Comments on the 2006 vintage in the Loire will follow.)

Abbreviations:JV- Jeunes Vignes; VV –Vieilles Vignes: BS – barrel sample; TS - Tank Sample;

PHILIPPE ALLIET: Chinon: Check Book Updates (November) for notes on Alliet’s exciting new cuvee “L’Huisserie,” but don’t ignore the following:
2005 Chinon VV: lightly herbaceous with ripe tannins and an agreeable chalkiness, a big Chinon that needs at least a year;
2005 Coteau du Noire: even bigger, oak dominates for the moment but this is a full, ripe, lipsmacking red, as usual, one of the best Chinons you’ll find.
Each of these wines will hold – in a good cellar – but they can also be enjoyed young (on the fruit) if decanted at least an hour before serving.

YANNICK AMIRAULT: Bourgueil and St. Nicolas de Bourgueil:
2006 St. Nicolas de Bourgueil “Les Malgagnes VV” - BS- gorgeous, succulent fruit, beautiful freshness and fine structure; I could drink a bucket of it right now.
2005 Bourgueil “La Coudraye” - bottled two weeks prior to tasting – lightly herbaceous, a touch extracty, with a streak of bitterness but I sense that it just needs time to flesh out. Six months should do it.
2005 St. Nicolas de Bourgueil “La Mine” (formerly Les Graviers): usually Amirault’s quaffer, it’s not surprising that in 2005 this is a rich, ripe, suave charmer with plenty of character. You can start drinking immediately.
2005 St. Nicolas de Bourgueil “Les Malgagnes VV” - BS – lusciously rich, focused fruit, lots of oak, chalky and structured; needs a year or two after bottling for the oak to melt into that yummy fruit.
2005 Bourgueil “Les Quartiers” - BS – the color of Cote Rotie, every bit as deep and seductive on the nose and on the palate. Simply super, with lush fruit interwoven with oak, fine structure. There’s lots of there there.
2005 Bourgueil “La Petite Cave -- BS – supple and silky, with ripe tannins, lovely fruit and engaging chalkiness.
2005 Bourgueil Rose - a nice, big (over 14 degrees alcohol), ripe rose, a good companion for many different styles of food – from rillettes to lamb biryani.

BERNARD BAUDRY: CHINON: : (Note that the 2006 was a tank sample and the 2005s, none of which had been bottled at the time of the Salon, were barrel samples.)
2006 Chinon rouge “Les Granges”: very pretty fruit with a hint of raisin and prune, lively acidity, ripe tannins and appetizing chalkiness.
2005 Chinon Domaine : hint of bell peppers interwoven with ripe black berry and red cherry flavors, very rich yet freshness and suppleness makes it almost impossible to spit; indeed, the deliciousness invites you to keep on drinking.
2005 Chinon “Grezeaux” : there’s a whiff of bell pepper accented very rich, black cherry fruit, a delicious wine, bordering on elegant, with a fine, chalky sense of place.
2005 Chinon Clos Guillot : fresh, chalky, lipsmacking red with juicy flavors of black berries, blueberries and sweet, ripe cherries, delectable. Oak disappears behind the lush fruit.
2005 Chinon “Les Croix Boisses”: aged in newer oak than Clos Guillot, this wine was less “finished” than any of the others. Chock-full of similarly luscious fruit, it was firmly structured, though a hint of gameyness troubled me.

DOMAINE DE BELLIVIERE (Eric Nicolas): Jasnieres and Coteaux du Loir:
2004 Coteaux du Loir blanc “L’Effraie” – strong, steel girded Chenin with apple accents (as is often the case in this northern region where apple orchards take over from grapevines). Perhaps a whiff of geosmin but quite minor.
2004 Coteaux du Loir blanc “Eparses VV” – a rich, ripe, terroir-driven Chenin with a note of herbaceousness.
2005 Jasnieres “Les Rosiers” – off dry, textured and overwhelmingly mineral, a wine mull over.
2005 Coteaux du Loir “Eparses VV” – verging on hard cider, albeit terroir-driven cider.
2005 Jasnieres “Calligramme”—almost demi-sec, very long, slightly hot finish, also rather cidery.
2005 Coteaux du Loir blanc “L’Effraie” – sweeter still, creamy with steel undertow and tons of minerals.
2005 Coteaux du Loir “Elixir de Tuf” – oxidized apple flavors accented with black tea, low alcohol (9.5), quite sweet (220 grams residual sugar), nicely balanced with ample acidity (6.5), a thoroughly intriguing wine for initiates.
2004 Coteaux du Loir rouge “Rouge Gorges”—a peppery, spicy, mineral Pineau d’Aunis with appetizing (to me) flavors of the rind of aging St. Nectaire.
2005 Coteaux du Loir rouge “Rouge Gorge” – atypically but deliciously ripe (15 degrees), a meaty Pineau d’Aunis. I love it.
2005 Coteau du Loir rouge “Hommage a Louis Derre” – made from very old (80 to 100 years) Pineau d’Aunis vines, this is a knock-out – for those who appreciate “light” but characterful reds. It’s appropriately peppery, very mineral. Recalls, in spirit, top cuvees of pure Carignan in Languedoc-Roussillon.
2006s - Everything I tasted – two Jasnieres and two Coteaux du Loir blancs – was still fermenting. All were extremely fresh, textured, and promising. To follow.

2006 Bourgueil “Pied de la Butte” - BS – Blot’s entry level Bourgueil (out of four different cuvees) is supple, easy, a pleasant red for early drinking.
2006 Bourgueil “le Haute de la Butte” - BS – a step up, richer, but still in range of laid-back, friendly bistro red.
2006 Bourgueil “Perriere” – BS – this cuvee somes from a one-hectare parcel with chalky soils. The wine is richer, chalky, promising though slightly gamey. It’s not a great Bourgueil but it’s an admirable one – and gives an idea of the complications of the 2006 vintage.
2006 Bourgueil “Mi-Pente” – BS – by far the most interesting of the lot, soft, blurry cherry-cherry pit fruit, very appealing and quite promising – for near-term drinking.
2005 Bourgueil “Le Haut de la Butte” – a supple red with soft, pleasant, somewhat blurry black cherry fruit, drink soon.
2005 Bourgueil “Perriere” – more charm and more focused fruit than Le Haut de la Butte, a touch hot but it’s very tasty and easy to like. Drink soon.
2005 Bourgueil “Mi-Pente” – BS – flavors of newer oak, tannic, a bit gamey but the wine is worth following as there’s interesting stuffing underneath.
2005 Montlouis “Triple Zero” . This is Blot’s new name for his petillant with absolutely no added sugar – at any point in its elaboration. It’s head and shoulders above his two other cuvees of sparkling Montlouis and it’s quite a charmer – tasty, very much a “wine,” with creamy bubbles.
2006 Montlouis “les 10 Arpents” - BS – Based on Blot’s first tri (in this case a tri negatif ), the wine still has some flavors of fermentation and residual sugar. It’s also tart with an admirably steely undertow.
2006 Vouvray “Les Caburoches” -- BS – Based on the first tri , this cuveeof Vouvray is fuller, richer and more mineral than the Montlouis. Very promising.
2006 Montlouis “Remus” – BS – based on the 2nd pass through the vineyards, the wine is focused, textured and very mineral. Also very promising.
2006 Vouvray “La Bretonniere” – BS – based on the second pass through the vines, the wine was still fermenting at the time of the Salon.
2006 Vouvray “Clos de Venise” – BS – Real tension, traction and focus here. Extremely promising.
2005 Montlouis “Remus” – an off-dry wine with 3 to 4 grams residual sugar, the 2005 Remus was crystalline, sweet and savory; a bracingly vivacious wine with just a touch of oak flavors and floral notes. A terroir-driven wake-up call.
2005 Vouvray “Clos de la Bretonniere” -- a strong, mineral-rich Vouvray, lightly perfumed and as crystalline as its predecessor.
2005 Montlouis “Remus Plus” (from vines planted between 1911 and 1914 – BS – oaky, marrowy and very mineral. Promising. A wine to follow.
2005 Montlouis moelleux -- Blot’s “lightest” cuvee of 2005 Montlouis moelleux. It came across somewhat sugary though, knowing the vintner, I’m sure the wine comes by its sweetness naturally.
2005 Montlouis “Cuvee des Loups” – BS – 98 grams residual sugar. A honeyed, deeply mineral Chenin, with depth and focus. Very good indeed.
2005 Vouvray “Clos de Venise” liquoreux - suave and creamy, a blanket of honey on a steel frame. Exciting.
2005 Montlouis “Cuvee Romulus” – BS – With 200 grams residual sugar, the wine is lusciously honeyed, velvety, deep and long. (Blot only makes this cuvee in exceptional years, ie ’90, ’97, ’03, and ’05.)

HENRI BOURGEOIS (INCLUDING DOM LAPORTE: SANCERRE, POUILLY-FUME AND OTHER: Note that all of the 2006s tasted were tank or barrel samples.
2006 Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France Petit Bourgeois Rose of Pinot Noir -- fresh and taut, a good summertime rose, fine for prosciutto and melon.
2006 Petit Bourgeois VdPJdF Sauvignon Blanc – a zesty quaffer, tangy house or picnic white.
2006 Pouilly-Fume -- too reduced to taste much but the texture is very pleasing, promising, to retaste.
2006 Sancerre blanc Grande Reserve ( known as La Baronne in some markets) -- vivacious acidity, grapefruit and grapefruit zest flavors married with minerals, good to very good.
2006 Sancerre blanc “Les Monts Damnes” -- rich, roll around the tongue grapefruit flavors, spirited and deep with a long finish, very promising.
2006 Pouilly-Fume “La Demoiselle” -- crystalline and mineral, captivating though finishes on a very tart note.
2006 Dom Laporte VdpJdF “Bouquet de Laporte” Sauvignon Blanc -- a real sprite, this one will wake you up.
2006 Sancerre blanc Dom Laporte “Les Grandmontains” – excitingly fresh and vivacious, full of mineral and citrus zest flavors.
2006 Sancerre blanc Dom Laporte “Le Rochoy” – an airborn, ethereally fresh wine, pure and rectilinear with a flinty backdrop.
2005 Pouilly-Fume Dom Laporte “La Duchesse” -- rich, ripe grapefruit flavors. There’s a sense of residual sugar but it might be the alcohol.
2003 Sancerre blanc Dom Laporte “La Comtesse” (a parcel on les Monts Damnes) - rich, unctuous but beautifully fresh and deep, a ringer for Chablis.
2005 Sancerre blanc Dom Laporte “Le Rochoy” -- classic Laporte, terroir-driven, very silex, extremely fresh and mineral, razor sharp, pure and limpid.
2005 Pouilly-Fume “la Demoiselle de Bourgeois” -- abundant flavors of grapefruit and chalk, with a tart finish.
2005 Sancerre blanc “La Cote du Monts Damnes” - complex, rich, structured and racy, another Chablis ringer.
2003 Sancerre blanc “Jadis” (from the heart of Monts Damnes) -- fermented in old barrels and cement tanks, raised sur lie, neither fined nor filtered, the wine is rich, mellow, concentrated, long and simply excellent. I adore it.
2005 Sancerre blanc “La Bourgeoise” – fermented in barrique and tank, lightly filtered – it’s a bit tight right now, very promising but needs more a good year.
2003 Sancerre blanc “D’Antan Sancerrois” -- very old vines, vinified like “Jadis”; rich, tense, deep and textured, excellent.
2003 Sancerre blanc “Etienne Henri” - fermented in new oak – mellow, supple, light oak flavors as well as faint flavors of roasted vegetables.
Sancerre blanc “Le Chene St. Etienne” -- creamy and mellow with bright grapefruit acidity, has an in-your-face plumpness reminiscent of Sonoma Sauvignons. Ready to drink – with roast ham and pineapples?
2003 Sancerre rouge “La Bourgeoise” -- a rich, “light” red, a touch jammy but quite supple with an overall sense of coolness. Very gourmand. A bottle would disappear in a flash.
’97 Sancerre blanc “Vendange de la St. Charles (sic)” -- sweet , late harvest Sauvignon blanc, a valid style and a well made version but it’s not my favorite expression of Sancerre.

PHILIPPE CADY: Anjou, including Chaume:
Cremant de Loire -- Chiefly Chenin Bl, this is a floral, fragrant Cremant with a sprightly finish.
2006 VdPJdF Chardonnay - TS – fresh, mineral, ripe, a very nice house white.
2005 Anjou Blanc -- tight, clean, very civilized Chenin with a strong schisty undertow, a very good meal wine, not overbearing but has plenty of character.
2006 Rose de Loire - TS – dry, taut, finishing on a lively acidic note.
2006 Cabernet d’Anjou -- pure, ripe fruit, 40 grams residual sugar – which you don’t feel because the wine is so flavorful and well-structured, really a super version of this appellation and a real pleasure to drink.
2006 Rose d’Anjou -- TS -- off-dry Grolleau – lean and zesty with notes of pineapple, a potential pal for exotic dishes.
2006 Anjou-Gamay -- TS – firm, fresh and lively.
2006 Anjou rouge (Cabernet Fr) -- rich, ripe fruit, taut, terroir-driven, very promising.
2005 Anjou rouge (Cab Fr) -- very ripe, somewhat gamey, appetizingly chalky finish. Chill , carafe and drink now or wait a year or two.
2004 Anjou Villages (Cab Sv) -- half aged in newish oak. Structured, very dry, very fresh, lovely fruit, not a touch of exaggeration, un vin sage, very good.
2003 Anjou Villages -- the pleasure principle is alive and well here, in this lusty, nicely structured, fresh red with flavors of crushed raspberries.
2004 Coteaux du Layon -- Cady’s least rich Layon from this vintage is fresh, lively yet supple with a long, lovely finish of honey and citrus zests.
2005 Coteaux du Layon-St. Aubin -- Cady’s least rich Layon from this stellar vintage is a beauty – crystal clear, pure, with gorgeous flavors of honey and quinine. A true ambassador.
2005 Coteaux du Layon-St. Aubin “les Varennes” - Crystallized gold with a nose so seductive you want to dive into the glass. Just as gorgeous on the palate, with notes of quince, apple and honey and a long, long fnish. Excellent.
2005 Coteaux du Layon-Chaume -- The green tinge of a great Layon prepares the palate for this grandiose Chaume, succulent, fresh as a waterfall and oh so racy. Superb.
2004 Layon SGN “Cuvee Volupte” – How much further can Cady up the ante? The wine, with 200 grams residual sugar, is trespassing on Rieussec territory. Magnificent.

2006 Saumur Bl -- TS – A fragrant, mineral Chenin Bl with lovely structure and mallowy depth. Lovely work.
2005 Saumur Bl “Les Damoiselles” -- This barrel-aged cuvee is fresh, creamy and smooth. A civilized Saumur Bl, with tender oak notes, it should probably evolve well. See the 2004, below.
2004 Saumur Bl “Les Damoiselles” -- A stylish yet terroir-specific barrel fermented dry chenin that’s all freshness and light, minerals, discreet fruit, and cream. A fine partner for haute cuisine.
2003 Saumur Bl “Les Damoiselles” -- Very ripe, heavier and fleshier than 2004 – which I much prefer.
2006 Saumur-Champigny “Cuvee Tufolies” – TS – wonderfully succulent black cherry flavors with chalky undertones, smoothand gourmand. I could drink it by the bucket.
2006 Saumur-Champigny “VV” – BS – Deep black cherry color with noses to match, full and zaftig but not heavy, with a fine chalky backbone, sit e specific, should be excellent.
2005 Saumur- Champigny “Cuvee Tufolies” – chalky, juicy and gourmand with the freshness and elegance born of tuffeau.
2005 Saumur-Champigny “VV” – fleshier, ripe tannins, fine fruit, needs time, slightly hot finish but very promising.
2003 Saumur-Champigny “Les Rotissants” -- An ambitious, barrel-aged, succulent red the color of Cote Rotie, with lipsmacking flavors of black cherry and soft oak set against a scrim of chalk, excellent.
2004 Saumur-Champigny “Les Roches” -- Aged in new and newish barriques, this is a lipsmacking, deep red as soft as a caress.
2005 Saumur-Champigny “Les Roches” -- bottled two weeks before the Salon –A voluptuous Champigny with seductive flavors of kirsch, black cherry and cherry pits – something of a nuanced exploration on the theme of perfectly ripe cherries – with the freshness and effortless elegance that seems characteristic of wines from tuffeau soils. Excellent.
2003 Saumur-Champigny “Les Roches” -- In structure and flavor, this approaches the Right Bank of Bordeaux, perhaps not surprising given the vintage and the presence of 10% cabernet sauvignon in the les Roches mix.
2006 Saumur rose “Attitude” -- Attitude is right: it’s in a highly designed bottle (with square shoulders and a pretty label) and finished with a screw cap. Wine-wise, it’s fresh, taut, and dry.
2005 Coteaux de Saumur “Cuvee Sarah” -- bottled just before the Salon – A delightful, fresh wine, it carries its 168 grams of residual sugar with ease. Flavors of honey, apple compote, minerals and citrus zests harmonize beautifully.
2003 Coteaux de Saumur “Cuvee Sarah” - rich, plump, heavier than the 2005 and, at this stage, a bit rustic, though quite tasty.
Cremant de Loire -- Chiefly Chenin Bl, with almost no dosage, this is a fresh, dry top-notch example of the appellation .

CLAU DE NELL/​CLAUDE AND NELLY PICHARD: ANJOU: An exciting young domaine. Unusual in many respects, including the fact that they make absolutely no white wine, only dry and sweet roses and reds, most aged for two years in barrel.
2003 VdPJdF rouge “a Vincent”– made from pure Grolleau noir, this is a tasty, original and characterful country red, perfect for a wine bar snack.
2003 Anjou rouge “a Norbert” -- ripe, juicy and chalky this charming red would be great in a serious wine bar or a bistro. Very good indeed.
2003 Anjou rouge “A Gustave” – lightly prickly but admirably ripe. A great wine bar discovery.
2005 Rose (of Cabernet Franc) Vin de Table “A Paulette”—a fully sweet, fully ripe rose of Cabernet Franc. A revelation for those who know only the mass-produced versions.

CLOS ROUGEARD: SAUMUR-CHAMPIGNY: These two wines were presented at a tasting given by the group Les Gens du Metier. (The Foucaults are charter members.)
2003 Saumur-Champigny “Les Poyeux” -- lightly bell peppery and somewhat gamey but ample, rich and good.
2003 Saumur-Champigny “le Bourg” -- ideal ripeness, a big, serious, structured Champigny. Can drink now or hold. Excellent.

2005 Savennieres “Le Vieux Clos” – over-ripe, oxidized apple mixed with intense mineral flavors, somewhat like a racy, complex cider.
2005 Savennieres “Clos de la Bergerie” la Roche aux Moines -- there seems to be a bit of residual sugar in this very rich, rather heavy, extremely mineral and complex wine. To follow.
2005 Coulee de Serrant -- light residual sugar (neither surprising nor inappropriate) and enormous complexity, though not the most elegant evocation. Still, what a statement this wine makes.And I look forward to seeing/​tasting Veronique's influence on the winemaking.

COULY-DUTHEIL: CHINON: It should be noted that the Couly family is going through a difficult period, sorting out issues of succession which are likely to result in two distinct domaines: Couly-Dutheil ,run by Jacques Couly and his son Arnaud; and Couly-Farou, run by Pierre Couly and his son Bertrand (and encompassing the vineyards owned by Louis Farou, Pierre’s brother-in-law). The following wine was tasted at a Vignobles & Signatures luncheon.
2005 Chinon rouge “Domaine de la Diligence” – from a Couly property known for making good Chinons to drink in the mid-to-near term, a fresh, deeply and richly fruity Cabernet Franc, ready to drink now (though it can age for five years), fine for an upscale bistro.

2004 P-F “Silex”: wound up tight but evidently layered, lightly foxy, quite tart, needs a couple of years.
2001 P-F “Silex : nose somewhat foxy; on the palate it's multi-layered, beautifully textured, superb structure.
2005 Sancerre blanc “les Monts Damnes” : a thrilling wine. The oak completely disappears-- as does ‘fruitiness' -- in this grandiose expression of terroir. Brings to mind a Raveneau Chablis Premier Cru.

SEBASTIEN DAVID: ST NICOLAS DE BOURGUEIL This ambitious young vigneron created his domaine in 1999. Organic wines. To follow.
2006 St. Nic de B “l’Hurluburlu JV” –TS – very pretty fruit, ripe, fresh, gourmand.
2005 St. Nic de B “Mi-Chemin” : light green pepper notes in this rich, concentrated and promising Cab Fr.
2005 St. Nic de B “Vin d’Une Oreille” -- from a hillside vineyard, a rich, very concentrated, somewhat extracty red with light green bell pepper notes. A new-age Bourgeuil.
2004 St. Nic de B “Vin d’Une Oreille” – tannic, lightly gamey, promising but still work in progress.

DOMAINE LES GRANDES VIGNES: Here’s a rising star in the Loire firmament. Jean Francois, Dominique and Laurence Vaillant go from strength to strength. Farming their 50 hectares of vines in the Bonnezeaux area of Anjou according to biodynamic principles, they produce an exciting range of the region’s wines, including what may be the most consistently excellent Bonnezeaux, the most recent vintages of which I described in WINE(S) OF THE WEEK: FEBRUARY 23, 2007 in FrenchFeast. Here I’ll describe the rest of their line:
2005 Anjou rouge “L’Aubinaie” : this was a solid, meaty, well made cabernet, supple yet firm, with a touch of heat in the finish.
2005 Anjou Villages “L’Ancraie”: this dark cabernet went through malolactic in barrique. It’s rich, masterly, smooth and very, very tasty.
2005 Anjou Villages “Les Cocainelles”: The color of a Cote Rotie, this is one of the most elegant Anjou reds I’ve tasted. Location, location, location. The vines are located in the above named lieu-dit which is at the cusp of the Paris basin and the Massif Amoricain. The chalky soils surely have something to do with the grace and refinement of the wine.
2003 Anjou Villages “L’Ancraie”: (the Vaillants made no Anjou Villages in 2004): a delicious weave of crushed fruit, it needs a little time for the tannins to melt into the whole. Surprisingly fresh though it does finish on a hot note.
2003 Anjou Villages “Les Cocainelles” : tuffeau elegance meets the fist of schist in this strong, silky wine. Lovely fruit expression. Pure pleasure.
2006 Rose d’Anjou (TS) : made from grolleau, half of which macerated for 18 hours, half of which was pressed immediately, the wine has 27 grams residual sugar. It’s fresh, ripe, crystalline, a very good example of the new work being done with Anjou’s roses.
2006 Cabernet d’Anjou (TS) : two-thirds of the cabernet macerated for 24 hours, the rest was pressed immediately. The wine has 29 grams of residual sugar. It’s ripe – with absolutely no hint of veggies – and extremely fresh. An excellent example of the appellation.
2005 Anjou Blanc “Varenne du Poirier” : pure chenin, with some shriveled grapes, the wine is focused, tight and lightly oaky. Sole reservation: it almost tastes like chardonnay.
2005 Anjou blanc “Varenne de Combre” : A small amount of botrytis contributes richness to this very fine, crystalline dry white. The oak is beautifully integrated. The wine is excellent.
2003 Anjou Blanc “Varenne du Poirier” : very ripe, ample, somewhat heavy. It’s very good but I prefer the 2005.
2003 Anjou Blanc “Varenne de Combre” : a true success for the vintage: rich but light on its feet. Delicious.
2005 Coteaux du Layon “Le Pont Martin” : Rich, fresh, limpid, nuanced and laced with honey. Superb.
Cremant de Loire “Musme” : pure chenin from the 2000 vintage, vinified in barrique, aged for 4 1/​2 years before being disgorged, the wine as full, fresh and truly delicious. Bravo.
Jean-Francois Vaillant is part of a group of nine who bought the Chateau de Suronde in Quarts de Chaume , and its stock, in May 2005. The following wines come from that property:
2004 VdT-Sauvignon Blanc : a fresh, tight quaffer with punch (and a bit of CO2).
2004 Anjou Blanc: Extremely mineral , racy and fresh. Lots of character here.
2004 Quarts de Chaume : lovely, airborn, rich, textured and honeyed.
2005 Quarts de Chaume : (BS): despite a whiff of geosmin, the wine seems to have great promise : it’s rich and honeyed with an undertow of herbal tea.
1997 Quarts de Chaume : from the time of the former owner, Francis Poirel, I include this note to show how the wines from this very forward vintage are aging. A gleaming wine, it was richly honeyed, with flavors veering toward butterscotch. But it was fresh and lipsmacking, with no fear for the future.

DOM DE LA GRAPPERIE: Completely new to me, Renaud Guettier’s domaine – in the Coteaux du Loir, is a promising member of the hypernatural club. All wines tasted were brut de cuve:
2005 Coteaux du Loir Blanc “Le Pressoir de St. Pierre”: very oaky, very mineral, lots of alcohol. It needs editing but it’s worth following.
2005 Coteaux du Loir Blanc demi-sec “Les Druillas”: an oaky, quite racy white with lots of promise.
2005 Coteaux du Loir Pineau d’Aunis : extremely peppery, totally original, I love this light, characterful red.
2005 Coteaux du Loir rouge “Le Gravot”: a blend of Pineau d’Aunis, Gamay and 80 year old Cot, thewine was lightly earthy but fresh and fluid, original and gourmand. A true wine bar discovery.

2005 Saumur rouge (BS): lightly gamey with pretty fruity and an agreeably chalky texture and finish.
2004 Saumur rouge : gameyness here too but appealing by-the-glass choice for a wine bar.
2003 Saumur rouge “Les Motelles” : structure and charm but gameyness is a concern.
2003 Saumur rouge “Arboises” : prune and black cherry fruit from hillside vines in Breze. By far Guiberteau’s best and most ambitious red.
2005 Saumur blanc: fresh, lightly oaky, full and zesty.
2004 Saumur blanc : rich, balanced, sprightly, with good oak integration.
2004 Saumur blanc “Le Clos”: From old vines in Breze, a rich, pedigreed , nicely structured wine worthy of a good Vouvray. Oak well integrated here, too.
2003 Saumur blanc “Le Clos” : It’s more 2003 than “Le Clos.” It’s not his favorite either.

GUILBAUD FRERES: MUSCADET DE SEVRE & MAINE : I haven’t been a fan of the wines from this big Muscadet house but I truly loved their 2002 Muscadet de Sevre & Maine “Le Clos du Pont” , a full, steely white. The grapes, which were harvested later than uaual and fermented in large barrels, come from a small lieu-dit. They spent 17 months on their fine lees. I hope this signals a new direction for Guilbaud.

HUET: Vouvray:
2006 Vouvray “Le Haut Lieu” sec: (TS): strong focus, steel backbone, flavors of apple and quince, slightly tender finish – there are 6 grams of residual sugar – with a core of steel and stone.
2006 Vouvray “Le Mont” sec: (TS): exciting freshness, airborn but also strong, a racy, steely and stony wine with apple and quince grace notes.
2006 Vouvray “Le Mont” demi-sec: (TS): similarly racy and long but needs time to flesh out.
2006 Vouvray “Clos du Bourg” moelleux : (TS): This was based on Pinguet’s first tri and was the only moelleux he made in 2006. It’s an iron butterfly of a wine – crystalline and finely etched, but with a steel backbone. A restrained moelleux, all about delicacy.
2005 Vouvray “Le Mont” sec: Full and bright, mineral and stone with a hint of residual sugar. The finish reiterates the steel and stone and adds flavors of citrus and apples.
2005 Vouvray “Clos du Bourg” demi-sec: Another steely, crystalline wine with flavors of creamed corn (a sign, to me, of adolescence) and a touch of sweetness.
2005 Vouvray “Le Mont” demi-sec: More residual sugar here than in the Clos du Bourg. This is a silk stocking Vouvray, with a silkiness not easy to find in Chenin. Pinguet, when asked, supposes that refined texture may have something to do with 18 years of biodynamic farming.
2001 Vouvray “Le Mont” demi-sec: Steely structure but the wine seems to be in its age ingrat, with rude ‘chenasse-y’ aromas. Wait.
2005 Vouvray “Clos du Bourg” moelleux: Based on the first tri, this Vouvray is as rich and succulent as a Layon. Racy, regal and delicious.
1996 Vouvray “Clos du Bourg” moelleux: Based on the first tri, the wine is rich, with flavors of creamed corn and citrus zests. The ‘chenasse-y’ notes make me think it’s closed and, like the 2001, in its age ingrat. Wait.
1995 Vouvray “Cuvee Constance” (doux) : There’s still some baby fat, as well as some aromas of creamed corn, but the wine’s getting there. It’s rich and succulent but not quite ready. Wait a couple of years.
1989 Vouvray “Clos du Bourg” moelleux : The domaine put this wine on sale again, feeling it was ready to drink – or to begin drinking. I agree. Basedon shrivled grapes, the wine is racy, limpid and succulent, a beautiful weave of minerals, white currants, light oak and citrus zests.

(The Oosterlincks have recently converted the domaine to biodynamics.)
2005 Anjou Blanc “Le Clos”: This is the mightly promising first vintage of this dry white. The wine is full, rich, with beautifully integrated oak. It’s a lovely white for haute cuisine.
2004 Anjou Blanc: a supple, mineral, graceful dry white.
2004 Coteaux du Layon “Les Cheurelles”: deeply colored but not at all oxidized, oaky, very rich, a touch hot but an extremely good Layon with flavors of sweet spices.
2003 Coteaux du Layon “Les Quarts de…” : Gorgeous. Crystalline. A weave of velvet and taffeta. Racy and honeyed. Drink or keep.
2002 Coteaux du Layon “La Passion”: Partially fermented in new oak, this exciting wine sings with juiciness and jewel-like flavors of white currants, honey and citrus zests. Exquisite.
2003 Coteaux du Layon “la Quintessence”: One of the finest 2003s I’ve tasted. Incredibly rich but fresh, nuanced and textured. Marvelous.
1997 Coteaux du Layon “La Quintessence”: Velvet, oak, white currants. Extremely sensual and delicious and a promising sign of how well these very sweet wines from the very forward ’97 vintage are maturing.

2005 Anjou blanc “Clos Fremur:” from an ancient parcel 500 meters from the city limits of Angers’ comes this very pure, very mineral white with overtones of menthol and quinine. Extremely long finish. Very promising.
2004 Savennieres “Les Genets”: partial malolactic, about 5% new oak, very mineral , nicely creamy and specific. To follow.
2004 Savennieres “le Bel Ouvrage”: Manifest sense of place, creamy and extremely mineral. Bring on the friture! (Damien Laureau keeps more malic acid in this cuvee and prolongs the oak age to round out the wine.)
2005 Savennieres “le Bel Ouvrage” : (BS): Oak dominates at this point, but this is a very promising wine, rectilinear, pure, with intense flavors of minerals and lemon zests just waiting to take center stage.
2002 Savennieres “Le Bel Ouvrage”: lean, steel-girded, mineral, with flavors of mallow and preserved lemon. Why not pair with a tagine (chicken or even lamb) with preserved lemon?

2006 Touraine Sauvignon (blanc): pungent, lightly herbaceous but vibrantly fruity, extremely fresh, the smile of a summer’s day. It’s rich but all you feel is its sprightliness.
2006 Vinifera Sauvignon Blanc (TS): (Ungrafted vines planted in 2000.) ( note that Marionnet’s Vinifera line –most within the Touraine AC -- accounts for about 5.3 hectares of ungrafted vines, a small but significant chunk of his 100 hectare domaine.): Richer texture and mouth fill, surprising richness and freshness. A gourmandise.
2006 Vinifera Chenin Blanc : Extremely fresh, a pleasure.
2006 Vinifera VdP Jardin de la France “Provignage”: (TS:Ungrafted, prephylloxera Romorantin vines): Crystalline, thrillingly pure, with a gentle mineral backdrop and the distilled essencesof apple and quince. Exciting.
2005 Touraine Sauvignon “M” de Marionnet: rich, broad, very ripe but not over-ripe, fresh as a mountain stream, with flavors of fig, melon and grapefruit. Excellent.
2006 Touraine Gamay : ultra-classic Marionnet, less fleshy than 2005 but brighter fruit;
2006 Vinifera Gamay: (TS. Vines planted 1992): Like a column of flavor going directly to the bedrock, and another pure gourmandise.
2006 Touraine “Premiere Vendange” Gamay: (TS) juicy flavors of cherry and cherry pit, lovely balance and mineral character.
2006 VdP Jardin de France “Cepages Oublies” (Gamay de Bouze): (TS) Succulent, fresh, so delicious it slips down your gullet without your knowing it.
2006 Vinifera Cot: (TS. Vines planted in 2000.) So juicy, so succulent, so delectably rich in cherry pit and mineral flavors that I can’t spit.

ALPHONSE MELLOT: SANCERRE ETC: (Note that the domaine’s conversion to biodynamic farming was completed in 2005.)
2006 Sancerre blanc “La Moussiere”: (Partially fermented in new oak.) Pungent, tart and clean. A well-made entry level Sancerre.
2005 Sancerre blanc “Generation XIX”: (Fermented and aged in 900 litre oak barrels). A textured Sancerre with some gravitas with a slightly tart finish.
2002 Sancerre blanc “Cuvee Edmond”: (Fermented and aged in new oak.) Surprisingly, the oak is still a thing apart here, making the wine seem disjointed.
2005 VdP Coteaux Charitois “Les Penitents” Chardonnay: Fresh, mineral, easy and very pleasant.
2006 VdP Coteaux Charitois “Les Penitents” Chardonnay: (TS) Rich, fresh and promising.
2005 VdP Coteaux Charitois “Les Penitents” Pinot Noir : (partially aged in new oak.) Light cherry fruit mixed with oak, agreeable.
2005 Sancerre rouge “La Moussiere”: (aged in new oak) Hint of gameyness, quite oaky, watery middle but will probably come around.
2005 Sancerre rouge “En Grands Champs”: (Oak aged, neither fined nor filtered.) Meaty though a bit furry, with drying oak finish. Needs time.
2005 Sancerre rouge “Generation XIX”: (Vines planted 1931. Aged in new oak. Just bottled at time of tasting.) Smooth attack, much more fluid than previous wine, ambitious but perhaps too oaky. Drying, oaky finish.

2005 Coteaux du Vendomois rouge : (Pineau d’Aunis from 60 year old vines). Lightly gamey, very peppery, taut and characterful light red with a very dry finish.
2004 Coteaux du Vendomois rouge : (Ungrafted, 135 year old vines). An explosion of white and black pepper, spicy, smooth, fresh and nuanced. A delightfully intriguing wine.
2005 Coteaux du Vendomois rose :(vin gris made from a direct press of Pineau d’Aunis): taut and fresh, a deliciously off-dry rose (4 grams residual sugar).
2005 Coteaux du Vendomois blanc : ( pure Chenin, from ungrafted, prephylloxera vines). Pure, deeply mineral, with enchanting fruit, a whisper of residual sugar and co2.

PIERRE-BISE: ANJOU: (Basically, I’d just dropped by the Papin’s stand to say hello and schmooze a bit – as the Papins never show the last vintage. But who can refuse a taste of such special wines? So I went through the secs and promised to come back to taste the reds and the stickies. Alas, too much wine, too little time.
2004 Anjou Blanc sec “Haute de la Garde: Rich, ripe, yet appetizingly fresh, with flavors of pineapple and minerals and a potent core of schist. VG. This is the best version of this cuvee that I’ve tasted in a long time.
2005 Anjou Blanc sec “Haute de la Garde”: The wine was just bottled and it shows. Almost unfair to taste – as I’m not getting anything that’s will accurately characterize the wine.
2005 Savennieres “Clos de Coulaine”: Creamy, tender (4.5 grams rs), backdrop of minerals and schist. VG.
2005 Savennieres “Clos de Grand Beaupreau”: ( One of the highest vineyards in the AC and a relatively new one for the Papins.) Crystalline, taut, lacy and stony – fist of schist in glove of lace? The finish is slightly hot but, overall, it’s a wine of considerable refinement.
2005 Savennieres “Roches aux Moines”: (Fermentation in newish oak.): The oak is coming on a bit strong at the moment but here’s another crystalline wine, very racy.

FRANCOIS PINON:VOUVRAY: (Pinon made no moelleux in 2006; only sec, demi-sec and petillant.)
2006 Vouvray sec: (BS): Very mineral, lots of silex. Extremely fresh , pure and rectilinear. You don’t feel the 5 grams of rs.
2006 Vouvray “Tradition”: (BS: 21 grams rs). Lots of succulent fruit – grapefruit, lemon zest – and also lots of minerals, quinine. Very good indeed.

JO PITHON: Lots of exciting new stuff here, starting with four dry whites from different terroirs.
2005 Anjou Blanc sec “Les Pepinieres”: (Vines on a hot, southfacing slope in Beaulieu, fermented in open wood barrels.) Strong, dry, very mineral; somewhat nubbly texture, rich citrus zest and mineral flavors.
2005 Anjou Blanc “Les Bergeres”: (From very schisty soils in St. Lambert, fermented in new and newish oak.) More complex, textured, smooth and suave. Oak nicely integrated. Very pedigreed. Very, very good.
2005 Anjou Blanc sec “Les Treilles” : (7 hectares of young vines on abandoned hillside.) Vines only 5 years old but the wine is already showing pedigree. The oak is marked but I doubt that’s a problem here. The wine is vivacious and racy. Impressive.
2005 Savennieres “La Croix Picot”: It’s oaky but no matter. This is a racy, riveting wine. Exciting and lipsmacking. Excellent.
2004 Anjou rouge : ( For now, 80% cab franc but will have more cab sauv. Aged 18 months in barriques, not filtered. Vines about 40 years old, near Rochefort.) Ripe, suave, chalky and civilized. Quite fine and very much worth following.
2005 Coteaux du Layon “Les 4 Villages”: (No new oak, 100 grams rs, half botrytis, looking for freshness and fruit here.) Crystalline, honeyed but fresh and succulent. The kind of Layon that could unify a jury. Very, very good.
2004 Coteaux du Layon-St. Lambert “Les Bonnes Blanches”: (Pure botrytis, 150 gms rs, 2 years in barriques.) Pure honey – with freshness and strong core of minerals. Excellent. Use as a ringer in a Tokaj tasting.
2004 Quarts de Chaume “Les Varennes”: (Hot soils, 150 gms rs, new oak.) Not very expressive right now. Sense of oak and liquor. To follow.

2004 Coteaux du Loir Blanc Cuvee Rasne: (Pure chenin.) Oaky, vinous, interesting wine bar quaff.
2004 Jasnieres “Cuvee Charmes de Loir”: Cidery, oaky and extremely mineral. Not for the world stage but great for a hypernatural-oriented wine bar.
2003 Jasnieres “Cuvee Charmes de Loir”: Rich, alcoholic, oaky and mineral. It’s not for everyone but it’s got a lot to say. To follow.
2005 Coteaux du Loir rouge “Concerto d’Oniss” (pure pineau d’Aunis): Vivid aromas and flavors of black and white pepper married with cherry fruit. For me, a charmer, a characterful light red.
2004 Coteaux du Loir rouge “Concerto d’Oniss”: There seems to be a bit of geosmin here but, curiously, geosmin seems to blend right in with the peppery character of pineau d’Aunis. Not bad but I much prefer the 2005.

2002 Anjou blanc: Oaky, light oxidation, rich, ambitious, very representative of the new style of dry Anjou chenin.
2004 Anjou blanc “Les Pierres”: Strong, alcoholic, oaky, very ripe chenin, spicy. Impressive. Would be nice to find in a very serious wine bar.
2003 Anjou Villages (cab fr): strong and assertive. Good wine bar red.
2003 Anjou Villages “La Grande Roussellerie”(cab fr): Seductive, delicious, though I’d wait a couple of years. Very good indeed.
2005 Coteaux du Layon-St. Lambert: Lovely freshness, ripe and rich (seems passerillage rather than botrytis). Very nice.
2005 Coteaux du Layon “Le Cormier”: Honeyed but fresh, with succulent flavors of white currants and a creamy texture.

ANTOINE SANZAY: Saumur-Champigny: 49400 Varrains; 02.4§.52.90.08; antoine-sanzay@​wanadoo.fr. (I tasted Sanzay’s wines in Paris at an event sponsored by the Association de la Presse du Vin and held in a grand hall in the French Senate. An eco-friendly young vigneron who’s inspired by Coche-Dury and Clape, his first vintage was 2002. For now, he’s selling 70% to the coop but that will change. He makes 3 different wines but only one was “on show” on the night in question. He has 11 hectares, all in Le Poyeux.
2005 Saumur-Champigny “Tradition” : (No oak, Light filtration.) Cool and rich, nice focus and balance. User-friendly and just asking to be drunk on its succulent fruit.

2006 Saumur-Champigny: (TS) Dark berry flavors, lots of stuffing, ripe tannins. Very promising.
2005 Saumur-Champigny VV: Statuesque, oak beautifully intgrated. Stylish, masterly and absolutely lovely.
2005 Saumur-Champigny “Le Grand Clos”: Jewel-like fruit, chiseled rubies, regal and un regal. Fresh, rich and ripe. Ambassadorial.
2005 Saumur Blanc: Textured, sur lie marrow, nicely structured and fresh.
2005 Saumur blanc “Les Cormiers”: Fresh, rich, with enticeing weave of minerals and citrus zests. Oak nicely blended in. Beautiful follow through, a fine arc from A to Z.

We've come to the end of my tasting notes from the Salon des Vins de Loire. Next in line: tasting notes from Ambassadors of Vouvray.

Where is the book today?

Essentially in limbo. Henry Holt, the publisher, eliminated its wine and food division shortly after the book was published, sending all its titles to the Bermuda Triangle of remainderdom. I see that it is available from Amazon as well as from specialty book shops--usually at very interesting prices.

The rights to the book have reverted to me. I would like to update it though readers interested in Loire wines will find extensive information on the best producers in my new book, The Wines of France: the Essential Guide for Savvy Shoppers.


Chinon Harvest Report from Matthieu Baudry (Domaine Bernard Baudry)as well as some well chosen words on the bio/​not bio debates.:

ANNEE 2007
AVRIL somptueux, Eté pluvieux, Septembre heureux ….
Vigneron débordé, Vigneron démoralisé, Vigneron rassuré…

Le millésime 2007 pourrait se résumer à un véritable feuilleton à rebondissements.
Il convient déjà de vous faire remarquer que nous avions décidé cette année de convertir la totalité du vignoble en culture biologique, avec un programme ambitieux de traitements par des plantes naturelles et la proscription totale de produits chimiques de synthèse…

Après un hiver doux et sans gel, les mois de Mars et Avril ont été superbes. De la chaleur, du temps sec et des vignes qui se mettent à bourgeonner avec 3 semaines d'avance. Du jamais vu…
La floraison se déclarait vers la mi-mai au lieu de la première semaine de Juin dans une année classique. A ce moment là tout allait pour le mieux, dans le meilleur des mondes.
Puis le mois de Mai fut arrosé et les premiers traitements se sont enchaînés à une cadence infernale.
Du 15 Mai à la fin du mois d'Août, les vignes ont été arrosées toutes les semaines et les tracteurs sont sortis à cette même cadence pour contenir le "satané Mildiou". Les premiers symptômes de maladie se sont déclarés dans le mois de Juin et se sont empirés en Juillet. Malgré les interventions les plus rapides possibles, les terroirs les plus humides ont été touchés avec des raisins bien abîmés.
A ce moment là, le moral est au plus bas. Les chauffeurs de tracteurs sont fatigués et nous ne savons plus comment sortir de l'impasse. A la mi-Août, nous avions perdu 50 % de la récolte aux "Granges" et dans des secteurs plus humides dans la vallée.

To bio or not to bio ?
Là n'est pas forcément la question car certains "conventionnels" ont eux aussi subi des attaques de Mildiou, et nous restons persuadés que l'environnement de la vigne (humidité, qualité de sol, vigueur) a été un facteur favorisant au développement de la maladie. Il est vrai que "les conventionnels adeptes du tout chimique" ont réussi à maintenir un vignoble "propre" et "indemne" mais, à mon avis, peu favorable à la qualité des raisins, bombardés d'anti-mildiou et d'anti-botrytis…

Il aura fallu attendre la fin du mois d'Août pour que la pluie cesse enfin et que tout le monde se repose un peu. Nous étions très pessimistes quant à la maturité du raisin. Au lieu de 3 semaines d'avance que nous avions gagné en Avril, nous avions retrouvé une année moyenne avec des vendanges prévues début Octobre.

Mais le fameux mois de Septembre, héros de quelques "millésimes mal démarrés" comme 1997 ou encore 2002, est arrivé. Le vent a tourné et s'est mis au Nord-Est, ce qui a permis de sécher les vignes et les sols. Le soleil est revenu et un léger vent d'optimisme est apparu. Même Bernard, plutôt anxieux et inquiet, s'est mis à croire que rien n'était perdu.

Grâce au superbe mois de Septembre, nous avons démarré les vendanges le 26 avec une équipe de 45 coupeurs prêts à couper et surtout trier.
Encore plus que les années précédentes, nous avons insisté sur le tri et le ramassage de raisins mûrs sans grappes séchées, sans raisins pourris et sans maladies… Nous avons également installé trois "trieurs" à l'arrivée de la vendange pour éliminer les grappes non désirées sur le tapis de vendange.

Première constatation, les rendements assez faibles : 35 Hl/​Ha à cause du mildiou bien sûr et du tri sévère à la vendange.
Deuxième constatation, les richesses en sucres étonnamment élevées de 11.7% à 13.3%, malgré les difficultés du millésime.
Troisièmement, la qualité des jus qui sont purs et frais. La concentration est certes moins forte qu'en 2004 et 2005, mais les vins sont "droits" et élégants.

Aujourd'hui, les fermentations alcooliques sont terminées et les "malos" sont en cours. Nous goûtons les vins presque tous les jours et nous sommes plutôt heureux. "Le stagiaire-sommelier" japonais qui a suivi toutes les vendanges et les vinifications apprécie énormément le style de vin et Bernard ne peut dissimuler derrière sa moustache sa satisfaction et son enthousiasme avec le 2007.

J'avoue que ce style de vin pur et frais correspond tout à fait à ce que nous aimons. Nous restons prudents mais je crois que 2007 devrait surprendre…
And To Bio or Not to Bio:

Toutefois, "la lutte raisonnée" me semble encore trop permissive, elle accepte toujours l'utilisation de molécules chimiques et de désherbants. J'espère que c'est une étape qui permettra aux vignerons qui le souhaitent, de basculer doucement vers la culture biologique.
...je pense que celà (bio et biodynamie) fonctionne bien chez de nombreux vignerons consciencieux et expérimentés ( beaucoup de grands domaines bourguignons et alsaciens, de plus en plus de chateaux bordelais et nombres de jolis vins de Loire ).
Les vins semblent plus purs et plus digestes.
Je pense que c'est la non utilisation de désherbants, d'insecticides, de pesticides et d'engrais chimiques qui est infiniment mieux pour la vigne, pour le vin et pour le climat...

(Prices are in Euros)


Domaine de la Chataigneraie 2005 Vouvray sec “Argilex”( 5.50): floral, lightly sweet nose followed by a very aggressive, very strong stone-mineral-silex attack; an onslaught, really. That’s terroir alright but it raises the question: can there be too much terroir? In any event, interesting and thought provoking. To retaste, as it ages.

Domaine des Lauriers. This domaine, owned by Laurent Kraft, is new to me. 2005 Vouvray sec (5,20): Fresh, strong silex presence, extremely mineral, quite terroir-driven with a light note of residual sugar and a long, stone-mineral-flint finish. To follow.

Domaine Francois Chidaine: 2005 Vouvray sec “Les Argiles” (12 euros): Mellow yet very fresh and quite mineral. Extremely racy with fine breed. Rectilinear. Excellent.

Domaine de la Fontainerie: 2005 Vouvray sec Le “C”: (9,80): a tri, fermented in newish barrels (4 wines): Big-boned, fresh and very mineral. Not noticeably marked by wood. Very good.

Domaine de la Roche Fleurie: 2004 Vouvray sec “Renaissance” (7 euros): Light honey note in nose, mineral, lightly reduced, a bit raw and sharp with a chalky finish. It’s not in the same class as the 2005s but vintage obviously plays a role. Still, it’s interesting to note the great

Domaine Philippe Brisebarre, 2004 Vouvray sec “Amedee” (7,60): Some mineral notes but basically flat and short. Old-style Vouvray.

Domaine de la Poultiere: 2004 Vouvray sec “Authentique” (6 euros): Mineral, nice balance and attractive freshness. Best of the 2004 secs presented at this tasting though worth noting that less racy than Chidaine, des Lauriers…


Domaine des Aubuisieres: 2005 Vouvray demi-sec, Les Girardieres (6,90): Aromas and flavors of quince, a hint of honey and a solid core of mineral and slate. The flavors need time to meld. The finish is lightly hot but it’s long and extremely mineral.

Regis Fortineau, 2005 Vouvray demi-sec (5,20): Completely blocked by sulphur. There’s a nice mineral character somewhere back there but it’s masked. Fair but plenty of room for improvement.

Didier & Catherine Champalou, 2004 Vouvray demi-sec, Les Fondraux (9,50): Sprightly, mineral and taut with a grace note of residual sugar in the finish – like a vibrant piece of music that goes out on a note of sweetness. Very good, with a strong mineral core.

Fabrice and Laurent Maillet, 2004 Vouvray demi-sec (5,20); The sulphur is very evident but the wine manages to ‘speak.’ It’s feisty and full of lemon and grapefruit zest flavors with a light note of residual sugar and a hint of co2. It could use refinement but, once again, I’m reminded of how far Vouvray has come since the 1980s. The domaine is new to me. Worth following.


Domaine du Margalleau: 2005 Vouvray moelleux Le Margalleau (9 euros): Mixed signals here: I’m bothered by a bit of earthiness and there’s an abundance of sulphur; on the other hand, the wine is also rather limpid and fresh, with aromas of creamed corn, and an appetizing quinine finish. To follow.

Domaine Huet l’Echansonne: (1) 2005 Vouvray moelleux Le Haut Lieu (18,70 ): rich, creamed corn aromas, a fluid, lusciously honeyed attack, followed by a wash of minerals. Long, deep and racy. Excellent. (2)2005 Vouvray moelleux Cuvee Constance, (Price not fixed; not yet for sale): The wine is a bit blocked by sulphur. Despite this, great freshness and limpidity are evident. With aeration, creamed corn and a sense of shriveled grapes (passerillage) come to the fore, along with fine minerality. Excellent. An oxymoronic wine: an ethereal blockbuster.

Domaine du Clos Naudin (Philippe Foreau): 2005 Vouvray moelleux Reserve (36,30): Unctuous but beautifully fresh; rich, layered and mouthfilling. Lots of honey and fruit nuances, with some savory, salty notes and a long, sweet, mineral finish. Great complexity to come.

Domaine Vincent Careme, 2005 Vouvray moelleux, 1er trie (35 euros): flavors of apple and oxidized apple, a thread of co2, somewhat rustic and woody. That said, it’s terroir driven and quite tasty, with a good mineral-honey finish. For the money, however, I’d opt for Foreau or Huet.