Loire Reds: a blind tasting

April 11, 2010

La Manche Wine Circle blind tasting, last night: A rough comparison of the main Loire red sub-regions from recent vintages (2005 to 2009), wines from Anjou Brissac, Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil, Bourgueil, Saumur Champigny and Chinon – plus an ‘intrus’ from Cheverny. Once again Chateau de la Varière was the panel’s coup de coeur closely followed by Christophe Baudry’s Chinon – Domaine de la Morandiere. Bronze goes to the ’05 Bourgueil – Domaine du Carroi.

2006 Château la Varière Anjou-Villages Brissac

Black red sombre robe with crystal clear highlights – no signs of ageing. Ripe, rich, sweet black fruit – far more complex and concentrated than the others in the flight with hints of cherry tobacco, vanilla, pepper and confiture. Velvety smooth on the well-balanced palate with a pleasant bitterness on a medium-long finish. Great food wine with the potential to age well – a real Bordeaux-beater! IH (84 pts.)

Chateau de la Variere’s 15th-century cellar

2008 Domaine de la Morandière Chinon

Very dark red, ruby rim and good legs. Tingly ‘bonbons’ aromas at first then sweet, ripe fruit. Almost a Burgundy-style nose. Nice balanced palate, good acidity; refreshing and clean. One to keep 2-3 years. PH (80 pts.)

2005 Domaine du Carroi Cuvée Tradition Bourgueil

Darkest of all the wines in the flight – viscous. Concentrated, ripe blackcurrant fruit with cedar and fresh coltsfoot. An easy-drinker with soft tannins. Another good BBQ wine with enough weight to go well with char-grilled meats and spicy marinades. Drinking well now. DG (78 pts.)

2009 Sylvain Bruneau Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil La Croix Blanche

Very young, dark black cherry with big legs. Black fruit and white pepper over a robust alcohol giving pleasant amylic and menthol aromas and a hint of cedar. Very juicy acidity – one to keep 1-2 years to reveal its potential. IH (75 pts.)

2007 François Cazin (Le Petit Chambord) Cheverny

Ruby robe with a bright rim. Lovely, perfumed red fruit on the nose with a hint of the spice cupboard. Green, herbal, feminine. Pleasing crushed redcurrants and greengage on a medium palate. A very pleasant summer BBQ wine to drink now – the scoring was probably brought down 5-10 points by putting this pinot/gamay blend in a flight of cabernets. DA (71 pts.)

2008 les hauts buits Saumur-Champigny

Mid-red robe, thin. Nice blackcurrant fruit on the nose like weak Ribena but a tad one-dimensional. Very soft palate – a passable breakfast wine! GT (70 pts.)

No surprise to find the 100% cabernet sauvignon Brissac at the top of list for a panel with ‘Bordeaux’ tastes. A first time for a Cheverny for most of the panel and this pinot/gamay wine was easily identified as the odd one out – its relatively low score reflects this but it’s not a bad little wine at all and it went very well with the Thai-style marinated prawns in chilli. The bigger wines from Chinon and Anjou were perfect accompaniments to a hearty Catalan lamb casserole.


French Vineyards selected by the Guide Hachette des Vins 2010

April 1, 2010

Surprise, surprise! Over forty wines from the book “French Vineyards” have been selected by the 2010 edition of France’s wine Bible – the Guide Hachette. Serge Dubard’s wonderful red Pécharmant, Les Farcies du Pech’ 2007, is very worthy of its three stars – well done Serge and the team. Nine reds, whites and sparklers won two stars; in total the French Vineyards entries get 39 stars! You can stay at all these award-winning wineries and taste and buy their delicious wines at the cellar door – click on the winery’s name for all the details…




Reds – three stars

Château les Farcies du Pech’ Pécharmant 2007 ***





Reds – two stars

Domaine Borgnat, Bourgogne, Coulanges-la-vineuse 2007 **

Château Bujan, Côtes-de-bourg 2007 **

Domaine de l’Europe, Mercurey ‘Les Chazeaux’ 2007 **

Château Ricardelle, Languedoc La Clape ‘Blason’ 2007 **

Château Richelieu, Fronsac 2006 **

Reds – one star

Château Bellevue-Gazin, Premières-côtes-de-blaye 2007 *

Château le Bourdieu, Médoc 2006 *

Domaine de Clapier, Vaucluse 2006 *

Domaine Gayda, Pays d’Oc, ‘Syrah’ 2007 *

Domaine Lucien Jacob, Gevrey-chambertin 2007 *

Domaine des Marrans, Fleurie ‘Terroir du Pavillon’ 2007 *

Mas du Soleilla, Languedoc La Clape ‘Les Bartelles’ 2007 *

Château Monlot, Saint-émilion grand cru 2006 *

Château Pierre de Lune, Saint-émilion grand cru 2006 *

Château de Pintray, Côtes-de-castillon 2006 *

Domaine des Caves du Prieuré, Sancerre 2007 *

Domaine du Roncée, Chinon ‘Clos des Marronniers’ 2007 *

Château Saint-Estève de Néri, Côtes-du-luberon ‘Grande Réserve’ 2007 *

Reds – citation

Abbaye de Saint-Hilaire, Coteaux-varois-en-provence, ‘Cuvée du Prieur’ 2006

Les Amants de la Vigneronne, Faugères, ‘de Chair et de Sang’ 2007

Domaine de Beauséjour, Chinon 2007

Domaine de Bournet, Coteaux de l’Ardèche, ‘Cuvée Notre Dame des Songes’ 2007

Château Sartre, Côtes-de-bourg 2007

Le Clos de Caveau, Vacqueyras, ‘Fruit Sauvage’ 2006

Domaine Désertaux-Ferrand, Beaune 1er Cru Les Sceaux 2006

Domaine Désertaux-Ferrand, Côtes-de-nuits-villages ‘Les Perrières’ 2006

Château Pesquié, Côtes-du-ventoux ‘Terrasses’ 2007

Whites – two stars

Domaine Agapé, Alsace Riesling, ‘Isa’ 2007 **

Thierry Violot-Guillemard, Auxey-duresses 1er cru Les Reugnes 2007 **

Whites – one star

Château de Claribès, Sainte-foy-bordeaux 2008 *

Horcher, Alsace Riesling, ‘Cuvée Sélection’ 2007 *

Château de la Tuilerie, Costières-de-nîmes 2007 *

Whites – citation

Château Carbonneau, Sainte-foy-bordeaux, ‘Cuvée Margot Sauvignon blanc’ 2008

Domaine Guillot-Broux, Mâcon-villages Cruzille ‘Les Perrières’ 2006

Halbeisen, Alsace grand cru Altenberg-de-bergheim Gewurztraminer 2007

Château de Melin, Saint-romain ‘Sous Chateau’ 2007

Château de Pitray, Montlouis-sur-loire sec 2007

Rosés – one star

Domaine de Garbelle, Coteaux-varois-en-provence 2008 *

Rosés – citation

Domaine de Saint-Ferréol, Coteaux-varois-en-provence 2008

Sparking – two stars

Domaine du Clos de l’Épinay, Vouvray, Brut 2006 **

Pierson-Whitaker, Champagne ‘Réserve’ **

Read about them all in the book “French Vineyards” by Alastair Sawday’s.