Grapevine Archive for Chenin Blanc
Sacré bleu it?s Sacré Blanc! Our new brilliant chenin blanc from Mourat, Sacré Blanc, Chenin, Vin de Pays de Loire, 2011 (J Mourat Père et Fils), is put through its paces by David Whelehan on Ireland: AM, the popular Irish breakfast show. The wine is featured after 2 minutes 30 seconds.
The wine is available for £8.50 per bottle (£102 the case) in The Society?s current Loire offer, which closes on Sunday, 20th May.
One of Mourat?s reds featured in the offer also received a favourable writeup from Jancis Robinson MW (jancisrobinson.com). She wrote:
J Mourat, Collection 2010 Fiefs Vendéens Mareuil 16 Drink 2012-2014 Very unusual stumpy flask-like bottle. Racy and bone dry on, according to the back label, volcanic rhyolite soils. Bags of character. Dry finish. Great balance and interest. Just the sort of wine the Wine Society does so well. Long. Uncompromising in its dryness. Don?t serve too cool ? nor too warm!
It was a pleasure to visit Loire producers recently with my Tastings and Events colleague, Ewan Murray, in the company of 48 members, partners and guests. Whilst the weather was not very kind to us, especially on the Saturday evening, our chosen Loire representatives certainly were. We were based in Tours, allowing us to go both east and west to find some great wines with fascinating and most hospitable growers.
Highlights for me included the personal introduction to the beautiful gardens at the Château de Valmer (Vouvray), courtesy of Alpha Loire
Domaines – one to go back to when the sun is shining; getting to know young winemaker Benjamin Joliveau a littlebetter at Domaine Huet, also in Vouvray; my first visit to Gratien & Meyer in Saumur, whose bubbles make them buyer Marcel Orford Williams’ patch rather than mine, though I drive past their imposing site near Saumur on a regular basis.
Did you know that 15 to 25 base wines are used to build each Gratien & Meyer cuvée? They produce c. 3 million bottles a year, matured in three miles of man-made chambers dug into the tuffeau. What struck me most, though, was that some in our party were not aware that Gratien & Meyer (Saumur) and Champagne Alfred Gratien (suppliers to The Society for over 100 years) are part of the same company. Which is just one reason why Gratien & Meyer produce such good fizz!
If you are passing later this month or next (Fridays 29th July, and 5,12,19 & 26 August) you could try out one of their “Jazz-Bulles” (Jazz & Fizz) evenings, from 7.00 – 9.00pm, €5 per head, including a couple of glasses for tasting.
We packed three wine tastings, two cellar tours, two lunches and a dinner into our 34 hours – what would your top tips be while touring in the Loire valley?
Joanna Locke MW
Looking for a mature white that can cope brilliantly with a mild-to-medium chicken curry? Look no further than Château de Berrye’s Saumur Blanc 2002. Labelled as “sec” and coded 2 on the current List, it delivers enough residual sweetness to massage those tastebuds after an onslaught of ginger, cardamom, cumin and garlic. But there again the best food matches are often happy accidents, as was the case here when a chilled bottle was grabbed from the fridge for an impromptu feast. As with all good chenin, it has excellent acidity, so add as much thick yoghurt, butter, cream, or ghee as you like. Also, as with all good chenin, it ages beautifully. This is now eight years old, and brings new and positive meaning to the phrase “no spring chicken …”.
Harvest is well and truly underway in the Loire Valley and things are looking promising. Despite cool and misty mornings, day time temperatures are still approx. 25 degrees with beautiful sunshine, following a day or two of welcome rain at the start of September. Vines are healthy and Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc and Muscadet are beng picked in Muscadet, Anjou and Touraine, with most wine makers waiting another week or two before picking red varieties. All are keeping their fingers crossed for what they are hoping will be one of the best vintages for many years.