A few pictures taken at this year's Salon des Vins de Loire.
Lionel Gosseaume of Domaine de Pierre. We have been working with Lionel over the past year and regularly show his wines at our tastings. This year I had the pleasure of helping him man the Domaine de Pierre stand during the Salon. His Climat No 2 was Jim Budd's favourite wine of the Salon - a 50/50 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Meslier St François (a very rare grape variety that has all but disappeared in the Loire). Fresh and crisp, the Sauvignon character is evident and the Meslier St François adds an exotic note - Poire William, orange flower water on the nose, pineapple and mango on the palate.
When time allowed I managed to nip out and try a few wines. Pictured here are Sebastian du Petit Thouars and Michel Pinard of Château du Petit Thouars. Sebastian looks after the commercial side of the vineyard and Michel is the winemaker. I was keen to try their Cuvée l'Amiral - a work in progress but one that is fascinating. A 100% press wine from 2009 (this is very unusual as most producers will only use a small percentage of press wine in a blend to add structure and body), it's a big chunky Cabernet Franc at the moment but I could detect a glimmer of something really interesting. It has a lovely smokey black fruit concentration on the nose and although the tannins are still big, they are not aggressive. Can't wait to try it again in a another 6 months or so.
Elodie Peyrussie took us through the range at Domaine de la Noblaie. A new wine for 2012 is a sparkling rosé called Mon Ange made from 100% Cabernet Franc. It has lovely summer red fruits on the nose and is fresh and subtle on the palate. She explained that they use the first 2 or 3 vines from each row at the bottom of the slope to provide the base wine because these are the ones that produce juice with high acidity which is perfect for sparkling wine. Aged for 24 months sur lattes it's a lovely addition to their range.
Fabulous contemporary labels and whacky wines from Jean-François Mérieau. I particularly liked the Sauvignon Tu le boa. Allowed to oxidise naturally over a period of 5 years (sometimes referred to as a Vin de Voile), the resulting wine is sherry like and has aromas of beeswax, honey, nuts and dried fruits. It would be delicious served at the end of a dinner with some aged Comté.
Great to catch up with Mathieu Vallée of Chateau Yvonne in Parnay (near Saumur). His wines are produced in a much more classic style. With just a few hectares of Chenin Blanc he makes a fantastic Saumur Blanc. The 2010 has a beautiful rich colour and is rich, citric and delicious on the palate. If I had my eyes shut I might even confuse it for a really good Burgundy. His reds are equally good, full of concentration, spicy fruit and with great length - classy wines.
More tasting notes to follow.