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Loire Valley

So, the dust has settled, the flags taken down, the beer rinsed out of your hair and the realisation has finally dawned that in fact football had about as much chance of coming home as a libidinous carrier pigeon on a stag weekend in Trafalgar Square.

Back to wine then and specifically the Loire Valley. Understated, quietly confident and yet oozing real class. The Gareth Southgate of wine regions. Incidentally that probably makes Neymar the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc of wines; immediately appealing and showy, but you get fed up with it pretty quickly.

Much of the Loire brilliance is down to the versatility of the Chenin Blanc grape grown in regions such as Jasnieres, Vouvray and Savennieres. One of the great translators of terroir Chenin is capable of dainty, apple-fresh wines, rich barrel-aged beauties, luxurious demi-sec and near immortal sweet wines. But this is the home of Sauvignon Blanc too. The taut, herb-edged classics of Sancerre to the struck gun-flint signature of Pouilly-Fume not forgetting Menetou-Salon, Reuilly, Quincy and the value of Sauvignon de Touraine. There is terrific fizz too vinified in the traditional method to produce Cremant de Loire and of course the seafood lovers dream wine; the salty, bracing Melon de Bourgones of Muscadet. In fact, the sheer range of wines can be daunting at times and that is only the whites. Their are delightful summer berry fresh Rose wines produced from Pinot Noir and Gamay, and of course the reds.

Cabernet Franc is the star here. It is capable of delivering all the blackcurrant fruit of it's better known sibling but with a green pepper edge to it, lifting wines and giving them an edgy freshness. In Chinon the top wines are raised in barrel and capable of ageing gracefully, with a quiet nobility, think Gareth again. Search carefully and it possible to find Pinot Noir-based reds too. The really good ones doing excellent impersonations of quality Burgundy. Add to the stars the likes of Romarantin, Groslot and Arbois to name but a few of local, indigenous grape varieties and the Loire truly is a tapestry of vinous indulgence.

We are offering 10% off when you purchase six Loire Valley wines until the end of the month, so head down to one of the shops and take something home to pop in the fridge.

You can even dress it up in a waistcoat.

A couple of recommendations:

Domaine de Semellerie 2015 Chinon £12.95

Super value from 35 year old organically farmed vines. Beautifully pure and but natural Cab Franc fruit with zip herbal edge plus a hint of cigar smoke. A really versatile wine, rich enough to stand up to red meats but equally enjoyable lightly chilled and served with cold cuts.

 

Quincy, Domaine des Ballandors 2016 £17.95

Quincy may be behind Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume in fame but as so often with these things it seems to offer better value for money than the more populist regions. From a mixture of old and new Sauvignon Blanc vines this is refined, slightly flinty and full of flavour. Flashes of citrus, grassy and dry. A treat for lovers of old school Sauvignon.

 

 

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