Our Loire Valley sales are always popular, and it’s easy to see why: many grapes find their absolute best expressions in this part of France.
For example: South African Chenin Blanc is evaluated against Vouvray and Savennières; Sauvignon Blanc the world over is inevitably compared to Sancerre; and New York Cabernet Franc must compete with the grape’s benchmark bottlings from Chinon.
This summer, you can get an in-depth introduction (complete with samples) at our Loire Valley Wines class with Andy Fisher.
For now, simply scroll down for a bit of background info, then head to today’s sale!
A Few of Our Favorite Loire Wines
Muscadet: Produced in some of the coolest climates in the Loire, Muscadet is a bracingly dry, seafood-friendly white wine. Made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape (which is rarely found anywhere else in the world), these refreshing whites are ideal partners for oysters and mussels.
Anjou and Saumur: Here in the heart of the Loire Valley, most white wines are based on Chenin Blanc, while most reds and rosés are based on Cabernet Franc. Saumur is particularly famous for its delicious sparkling wines, both dry and off-dry. The rosés of Anjou also span the flavor spectrum, ranging from luscious and fully sweet to dry and earthy.
Chinon: Cabernet Franc is truly at home in Chinon. In Bordeaux, the red grape is usually assigned a minor role in blends (if it is used at all), but in the Loire it is allowed to shine in varietal wines made from 100% Cabernet Franc. At its best, Chinon perfectly embodies finesse in winemaking.
Touraine, Cheverny, Quincy, Pouilly, Menetou-Salon, and Sancerre: Along the eastern stretch of the Loire River, the Sauvignon Blanc grape achieves its finest expressions. White wines from these appellations range from lean and overtly mineral to rich and subtly smoky. The Sancerre appellation makes some of the most sublime Sauvignon Blancs in the world. (Sancerre Rouge, made from Pinot Noir, is excellent as well.) Prices for the sought-after wines of Sancerre have, in some cases, risen along with the region’s prestige, so look to the neighboring appellations of Quincy and Touraine for amazing values in Sauvignon Blanc.
Top Deals From Today’s Sale:
La Bohème Blanc, Marc Pesnot – 2010 (Staff Pick)
This was the first bottle of wine I had when I came to Astor and it is easily still one of my favorites. Marc Pesnot is a serious wine-maker who makes fun and exciting wines. This bottle has ample amounts of nearly everything you want from a white wine. Since the average age of the vines for this Melon de Bourgogne are 30 to 50 years, the fruit is noticeably more vibrant than your average muscadet. Perfectly balanced with a clean streak of minerals that make your mouth water and fresh crisp acidity to cleanse the palate and keep you coming back for more! With food, shellfish is the classic pairing and works beautifully here, but it is also fantastic on its own and extremely easy to drink. This wine is a dichotomy of complexity and elegance and if you haven’t had natural wines before, this bottle will make you an instant believer. -NAB
Chinon “La Croix Boissée”, Chinon – 2010
From one of the very best vineyards in Chinon, this is Bernard Baudry’s “signature” wine. The wine shows beautifully perfumed aromas, and wonderful depth of fruit. Destined for a long and graceful life.
Pinot Gris, Dom. de Belle Vue – 2011
It is unusual, but not unheard of, to find Pinot Gris on the western edge of the Loire Valley. This wild white Pinot has soprano acidity and lush green herbs on the nose and palate. A touch of spiced pear appears, declaring the integrity of the varietal. This white wine was aged on its fine lees in barrel and stainless steel, then bottled with minimal sulfur.
Menetou-Salon Rouge, Gilbert – 2009
From the Menetou-Salon appellation, located just west of Sancerre, comes a Pinot Noir that is full of pretty, floral, and supple red berry fruit. There’s a cool kiss of mineral on the finish, giving this a fuller feel on the palate. This hand-harvested, earthy Loire red is perfect for grilled sausages, roasted turkey breast in rich sauces and mushroom pizza.
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Dom. de la Louvetrie – 2010
Lively, fruity, cheerful, zesty, and aromatic, with notes of seashell iodine and ripe-from-the-tree grapefruit approaching at full speed on the palate. Several terroirs contribute to the classic simplicity on this pristine, light white. This is an ideal aperitif or partner to a fish course, as well as light summer fare, but feel free to drink it year round. The Domaine de la Louvetrie is comprised of 64 acres at the top of the appellation and is exclusively planted to Melon de Bourgogne. The soils here are sandy clay over amphibolite rock and gneiss.