Thursday, March 19, 2009

Loire Valley Whites: 'Tis the Season

At the Boutique Wine Collection National Portfolio Tasting in Philadelphia a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to taste several dozen delicious, often idiosyncratic bottlings that embodied everything I love so much about wine: A sense of place, impeccable balance, and the kind of exuberance that makes wine such a fun, deeply rewarding pursuit.

Among the many standouts I enjoyed at the tasting, four bottlings of Savennières from Domaine du Petit Métris (which has been in the same family since way back in 1784) really made me stand up straighter and take notice. The 'Clos de la Marche' 2007 reminded me of candy corn (without the sugary sweetness) in its amazing waxy character. It also possessed a stone-fruit note that lent it both roundness and depth. The 'Clos de la Marche' 2005 was both nuttier and brighter at the same time; it was just as much an intellectual pleasure as a sensual one. The Domaine's Savennières 'Les Fougeraies' 2007 was still quite young, with apricot and nut notes dominating, whereas the 2005 possessed a berry-like perfume that reminded me of well-crafted eau de vie, though, of course, without the alcohol of that digestif.

The great whites of the Loire Valley—Chenin Blanc-based ones like Savennières, Quarts de Chaume, and Vouvray; and Sauvignon Blancs like Pouilly Fumé and Sancerre—are among the most remarkable and cost-effective wines of France. And with the warmer weather finally upon us, now is the perfect time to start exploring this part of France in general and these wines in particular. The rewards are tremendous, and the costs, thankfully, are surprisingly low.


Anonymous said...

Haven't had any of the wines listed but will try to plan on having at least one of them this weekend.

Brian Freedman - on March 24, 2009 at 3:44 PM said...

Let us know what you have and how it is!

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