Lure of the Loire

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The Loire Valley is the launching pad from which sauvignon blanc’s rise into superstardom began. Two villages in the eastern part of this northern French river valley consistently make world-class wine: Sancerre and Pouilly. While some regions of the world that become popular immediately begin overproducing wine, Loire sauvignon blanc remains an exemplar of quality, not only because of the region’s great soils and climate, but also because of France’s yield-restriction laws. And the great news is that 2014, the current vintage available, is outstanding across the board.

Domaine Fournier “Les Belles Vignes,” Sancerre, 2014

Claude Fournier is a 10th-generation winemaker whose Sancerre never disappoints. From vines grown in Sancerre and three adjacent villages, the estate’s 2014 is special: intense in aroma, with lemony, green leafy notes and a stony earthiness, but also round on the palate with a lingering citrus finish. It’s uncompromising in style, but satisfying.

$23, Whole Foods, Boston

Régis Minet “Vieilles Vignes,” Pouilly Fumé, 2014

This wine is from 30-year-old vines in Pouilly-sur-Loire that grow on flinty clay and limestone soils laced with fossilized oyster shells. With its vineyards facing Sancerre from across the Loire, Pouilly has a long tradition of wine production. A wine of cool, steely finesse, it boasts a flavor of green herbs, lime, peach and crystalline minerals.

$25, Bauer Wine & Spirits, Boston

Michel Redde “Les Tuilières,” Sancerre, 2014   

Redde is one of the great names in the Loire region, a producer who exemplifies precision, balance and purity in his sauvignon blancs, whether from Sancerre or Pouilly. This wine shows a lovely supple mouthfeel, with a hint of yeast, chalky grapefruit and a saline note in the finish. It’s silky and delicious.

$30, Wine Emporium, Boston


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