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Sauvignon Blanc: fresh from the loire

Winemakers in the Loire are working together to produce distinctive Sauvignon Blanc wines with a unique sense of regionality. Here’s your chance to try them – for free!


THE TASTE TEST

The following 18 wines have been chosen from the 2011 vintage to highlight the versatility of Sauvignon Blanc from the region, falling into three main styles: citrus, tropical fruit and fresh/vegetal.

Chosen by a highly respected panel of tasters headed by Sam Harrop – including Imbibe contributors Tim Atkin MW and Jamie Goode, as well as Charles Metcalfe and Annette Scarfe – they are the flag-bearers for IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire and AOP/AOC Touraine and the wines deemed most likely to have commercial success in the UK market. 

MEET THE SAUVIGNON BLANC DE LOIRE AMBASSADORS

1 Ackerman 2011,
Domaine Ackerman IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire

Attractive grapefruit and citrus notes on the nose. Clean, fresh and modern, with a touch of flinty minerality. While not a big wine texturally, it has lovely palate length and classic varietal characteristics.

No UK distribution: sbriand@ackerman.fr, +33 241 53 03 10

2 Brumes de Loire 2011,
Caves du Haut Poitou IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire

A modern and commercial style; with ripe passion fruit flavours and pear drop aromas. A flinty note adds personality and charm. Good concentration and wonderful length.

Bottle Green, 01132 054500

3 Domaine de La Croix Bouquie 2011,
Alpha Loire Domaines AOP/AOC Touraine

A very interesting and impressive wine, that boasts a riper flavour spectrum than many others in the line-up. Quite forward with ripe grapefruit notes alongside stone fruit.

Dreyfus Ashby & Co, 01732 361639

4 Domaine de La Renaudie 2011,
AOP/AOC Touraine

A complex wine with multiple layers and a balanced texture. Rich and tropical guava notes are backed by a classy minerality. This wine has been well made.

Milton Stanford Wines, 01628 829449

5 Domaine des Corbillières 2011,
AOP/AOC Touraine

Tropical passion fruit aromas are backed by a mineral character in this complex style. Good weight and concentration comes from well-managed lees contact, with moderate acidity and decent length.

Liberty Wines, 020 7720 5350

6 Domaine Guenault 2011,
SA Bougrier AOP/AOC Touraine

A hint of lanolin and flint sit alongside herbal and tropical flavours. Clean and pure with an interesting taste profile. A more mineral and traditional style, but well balanced with nice palate weight.

The Wine Society, 01438 741177

7 EARL Château de Fresne 2011,
IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire

A well-made IGP with impressive varietal expression and good balance. Ripe boxwood characters blend with cassis herbal notes, with good acidity and freshness. A modern commercial style.

No UK distribution: contact@chateaudufresneanjou.com, +33 241 54 30 88

8 L’Elégante 2011,
Domaine Pré Baron AOP/AOC Touraine

A super wine with vibrant tropical primary notes. Good intensity on the palate with fruit salad, guava, and herbal notes, plus a mineral, flinty note that adds complexity. Will open nicely over time.

Boutinot, 0161 908 1300

9 L’Expression 2011,
Domaine de la Renne AOP/AOC Touraine

A fairly exotic expression of Loire Sauvignon, with melon, stone fruit and spice. A vibrant attack on the palate with very fresh acidity balanced by nice ripe citrus notes. Clean, correct and well made.

frenchvines.co.uk

10 Jean de La Roche 2011,
SA Les Vins Drouet Frères IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire

A rich style with intense tropical and white floral notes. The palate is fresh and zesty with crisp acidity, but some concentration and weight to support it. A pure wine, that’s well balanced with good length.

Promotion Wines, 01206 338915

11 La Marinière 2011,
SAS Les Vignerons de la Vallée du Cher IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire

Complex aromas of boxwood and passion fruit, with an underlying minerality, plus a hint of lanolin and tomato leaf. The palate is more herbal, with very fresh and crunchy acidity. Well made in a modern style.

Thierry’s Wine Services, 01794 525354

12 Petit Bourgeois 2011,
Domaine Henri Bourgeois IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire

This is quite a sophisticated IGP made in a linear, floral, citrus style. Fresh, vibrant and clean, with good varietal notes plus some flinty mineral notes. A classy customer.

Les Caves de Pyrène, 01483 554750

13 Pointe d’Agrumes 2011,
Complices de Loire AOP/AOC Touraine

A herbal style of Sauvignon Blanc, with notes of tomato leaf and green pepper. Very perfumed. Clean, pure and intense, with a hint of flintiness.

Waitrose Wine Direct, 0800 188 881

14 Prestige d’Octavie 2011,
Domaine Octavie AOP/AOC Touraine

A lovely ripe varietal expression of Sauvignon Blanc, with pure tropical notes and a hint of tangarine. A rich attack on the palate. This wine benefits from a slightly higher natural residual sugar, balanced by good acidity.

Rodney Fletcher Vintners, 01892 724314; James Nicholson Wine Merchant, 02844 830091

15 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2011,
Domaine Joël Delaunay AOP/AOC Touraine

A more traditional linear style, with crisp firm acidity. Green pepper and asparagus on the nose, with a smoky minerality. On the palate citrus notes come through, plus white peaches. Good complexity and balance in this wine.

Stevens Garnier, 01865 526 3308

16 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2011,
Domaine Pré Baron AOP/AOC Touraine

A modern style with good varietal typicity. An intense nose of blackcurrant bud, limes, green pepper and melon. Lovely complexity on the palate. Impressive winemaking with real purity and intensity.

Boutinot, 0161 908 1300

17 Vignoble Cogné 2011,
SCEV Cogné Claude IGP/Vins de Pays du Val de Loire

Pink grapefruit, banana, pineapple – quite exotic and an interesting bouquet. Moderate acidity, but it is clean, pure, intense and very attractive for the UK palate.

Wells and Young’s Brewing Co Ltd, 01234 272766

18 Villebois Prestige 2011,
Domaine Villebois AOP/AOC Touraine

A complex and sophisticated style, with good acidity and purity. Passion fruit and tropical notes are infused with a backbone of minerality and a touch of flinty reduction. This has the potential to age well.

Naked Wines, 01603 281800


Now try the wines yourself...

In an exclusive offer for Imbibe readers, InterLoire is inviting venues to apply for free samples. Simply send an email to romain.priore@sopexa.com, including the information below.

Choose the three wines that you’d most like to taste from the selection of 18 shown here and if your application is successful, you will receive two bottles of each (so a mixed case of six). Be quick – only the first 60 venues that apply will be eligible for this special offer.

Name ............................................................................................
Venue name ..................................................................................
Venue address ..............................................................................
Tel ................................................................................................
Email ............................................................................................
Website ........................................................................................

1st choice wine (number) ...............  2nd choice ............... 3rd choice ...............

Signature:
......................................................................................

I confirm that I am not listing any AOC Touraine or Vins de Pays du Val de Loire Sauvignon Blancs

 If you would like to post please send the completed form to: Romain Priore, Loire Ambassadors On-trade Promotion, Sopexa UK, Buchanan House, 24/30 Holborn, London, EC1N 2HS

This is an InterLoire promotion through Sopexa UK. Information supplied will only be shared with the wine producers of the three wines selected and not with other third parties.  


Sauvignon Blanc is a wine list staple; a familiar name that your customers recognise. With the New World leading the way, winemakers around the world have been quick to capitalise on the demand for gooseberry fruit and zesty acidity, making bottles of Sauvignon that can taste... well, exactly the same. The customers may be lapping it up, but for how much longer?

Maybe it’s time to put something else on your list to relieve the boredom and broaden your offer. Enter Sauvignon Blanc de Loire. It’s mission? To make you fall in love with the variety all over again.

‘As a variety Sauvignon Blanc has huge appeal and personality – it certainly isn’t short on character,’ says consultant Sam Harrop MW who has been working with producers and negociants/cellars in the Loire since 2008. Looking beyond the region’s reputation for producing simple, fresh, food-friendly wines, generic body InterLoire hired Harrop to help unlock the Loire’s diverse potential. ‘We’re not competing with Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand, Chile or South Africa; winemakers in the Loire are embracing their own terroirs and developing their unique styles,’ explains Harrop.

CHANGE FOR THE BETTER

The Sauvignon Blanc de Loire project was set up by InterLoire in partnership with the producers of IGP/Vins de Pays du Val du Loire and AOP/AOC Touraine. The focus of the project has been on helping winegrowers to make a consistent Sauvignon wine style that delivers balance, elegance, personality and typicity. ‘Producers have been encouraged to embrace the terroirs of the region and to develop their own individual styles to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and highlight the unique qualities of Sauvignon Blanc,’ explains Harrop.

‘Producers and negociants have embraced change where needed,’ adds Harrop. ‘They’ve looked closely at their vineyards, the type of fruit they produce and the best winemaking techniques to employ – or in some cases, discard – to help primary aromas leap from the glass. In many cases it is about moving producers to a more natural approach in an effort to achieve authenticity: the Loire’s trump card.’

ON THE MENU

The results of the project are well worth a look: individual wines that are well made, food friendly and express a real sense of place. Wines, in short, which Harrop believes are perfectly suited to the on-trade. ‘What’s more, Loire Sauvignon Blancs offer exceptional value,’ he says. ‘You may think, “I already list a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, why should I list one from the Loire?” My answer would be that for the price, you’ll be able to get much better value.

Savvy sommeliers and restaurateurs have already picked up on this – and on the increasing versatility of Sauvignon Blanc de Loire when it comes to food matching. Restaurateur Nigel Wilkinson, who owns RSJ Restaurant which specialises in Loire wines, explains: ‘The style of Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire varies so much now, from fresh and fruity through to rich and ripe. So you’re not restricted with food matching any more. Of course there are the classic matches with asparagus, goats’ cheese and fish dishes; but there’s so much more scope beyond this.’

‘Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire is often more versatile than other Sauvignon Blancs,’ agrees Fionnuala Synnott of Pollen Street Social. ‘The ripe gooseberry notes of some Sauvignons can overpower delicate dishes. Although more understated, the mineral profile of these Sauvignons can often serve as a more elegant accompaniment to food.’ 

‘I recommend Sauvignon Blancs from the Loire with seafood, fish and chicken dishes from our menu,’ says Alexis Meszoly, head sommelier at Skylon. ‘But Loire Sauvignon Blancs are a great expression of the local terroir; they can be so expressive that you don’t always need to have food with them.’ 

Christine Parkinson, group wine buyer for Hakkasan, adds: ‘Sauvignons from the Loire are really interesting. Some have a citrus profile and are very rich, but not in a New World style; there’s elegance and a real sense of terroir.’ She believes they merit a place on restaurant lists: ‘Consumers recognise Sauvignon Blanc, so these Sauvignons wouldn’t take much effort to sell.’


Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – September/October 2012

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