WBW 24: Loire Whites

by Tim Elliott on August 2, 2006

Wine Blogging Wednesday turns 2 this month with numero uno wine blogger Alder from Vinography hosting. Alder has picked a regional theme that is perfect for late summer sipping, the white wines of France’s Loire Valley. It doesn’t seem possible that what started 24 months ago with 17 bloggers has grown to such a large world-wide gathering with new bloggers participating each time. Different from most of the months I have participated, I will only blog and not podcast this time, saving this theme for a more comprehensive audio version in the next few of weeks.

The Loire is known for both white and red wines, but it’s probably most famous for it’s great Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé) and Chenin Blanc (Vouvray). Another notable white is made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and is called Muscadet. The region is also renowned for Cabernet Franc based red wines (Chinon and Bourgueil), but that is a subject for another night. Alder has asked that we keep our choices to only whites, so that’s what I picked up to taste.

I generally found the selection of Loire whites to be disappointing here, but I didn’t get a chance to really search the best stores in town. What I did find was a lot of Vouvray, Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Since I covered Sancerre in a past show and would like to feature Pouilly-Fumé on it’s own, I decided to concentrate on Vouvray and a wine I have never tried, Muscadet. Here’s what I found:

Cuvée Catherine, Muscadet, Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2004 ($8) – Very light straw-green in color with aromas of green apple and citrus.Tart grapefruit fruit flavor with a bit of creaminess and complexity from the lies aging. Bone dry with good acidity making this a nice, simple white for seafood on a hot summer’s day. Score: 7.5/10. 12% ABV, synthetic cork closure (easily removed).

Domaine Pichot, Vouvray 2004 ($15) – Bright straw in color with aromas of pear and melon. Pineapple and green apple flavors with a touch of minerals. Off-dry, but nicely balanced by acidity making this a very good summer selection and a great value. Score: 8.5+/10. 12% ABV, natural cork closure.

I liked the Vouvray best tonight but I like the exploration of a new varietal and this underrated region more. Thanks to Alder for hosting once again and for Lenn for the coming up with this idea over 2 years ago. I’m in for next time and will produce a podcast timed with my post. Stay tuned for my more comprehensive podcast on the Loire soon.

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