Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Another trio of wines from the Loire Valley

I will offer no apologies for the complete lack of posts on this blog over the last couple of months. Frankly, I have been far too busy with other things (both wine and non-wine related) to even think about spending what can amount to a good deal of my time, writing for "pleasure"(!) I guess I have also become more used to posting what some may call "micro-blogs" on Facebook. I have to say I like the immediacy and intimacy of Facebook and the way that friends and followers (I cross-post wine-related posts from my personal page to my business page) can interact to their hearts' content, to the point where genuine conversations or debates can develop in a very short space of time - which is much more difficult on platforms such as Blogger. And whilst I used to get frustrated when I posted links to my blog posts on Facebook, only for people to reply on Facebook (rather than on the blog itself), I now just accept that as a fact of 21st Century life. If people want to say something, they will say it using the easiest way possible. I still think blogging is a useful way of communicating, and certainly intend to carry on posting, whenever time or work allows (or dictates). And if anyone can suggest a useful way of linking Facebook to Blogger - rather than the other way around - I would be mightily interested in hearing it!

Anyway, enough about that - let's get back into it gently, courtesy of an interesting trio of Loire whites.  I was recently asked by French wine marketing organisation Sopexa if I would like to receive some more sample bottles to taste. And although they are already well aware of the fact that I have no commercial interest in Loire wines (as a merchant, that is), I guess the fact that I have - historically, at least - a decent following for my blog is all-important. So if they want to keep sending me wines to taste/review, who am I to argue? And if the wines are good, I'm happy to say so - and equally likely to say if they are not.

Paul Bouisse La Grille Sauvignon Blanc 2012 IGP Touraine
This is intensely grassy and uber-fresh, with pronounced elderflower, gooseberry and blackcurrant leaf/fruit aromas. There is just the merest hint of something tropical on the palate, but it is really all about apples, peaches and cut limes, with a combination of zesty acidity and stony minerality. Quite modern, but in a very good (and very French) way. It is a really clean, fresh, mouthwatering wine, with a long-ish, gently spicy and cool, peppermint-y finish. Apparently, the recommended retail price at Majestic is £7.99. I guess if you wait a while, you just might get the usual (or do I mean predictable) 2 at £5.99(ish) each - but don't quote me on that. Either way, a decent wine and good value for money.

Eric Chevalier La Noë 2012 Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu Sur Lie 
Muscadet trying to be Burgundy? Actually, it is doing a fairly decent impression, in a ripe, opulent sort of way. Lots of creamy, orangy, honeyed sur-lie aromas and flavours (and do I detect a hint of barrel fermentation?) with notes of spiced apple pie and overripe peach, and perhaps a slight perception of salty minerality. Opulent, rich and full-bodied, it almost hits the spot, but for the lack of some genuinely bracing acidity. Almost serious...... but on balance - or rather, the lack thereof - falling just a little bit short. It is a fairly decent wine for the money (£11.95 Lea & Sandeman) though ultimately too big for its own good.

Monmousseau Brut Etoile Methode Traditionelle NV
Made from somewhere between 50% and 70% Chenin Blanc (depending on where you look), plus Ugni Blanc and possibly other varieties, this really is very rich and limey, with what seems like a touch of residual sugar, yet with an intense cooking apple and spice note. It all makes for a rather bitter-sweet palate, which is interesting to begin with, but soon begins to tire - rather than refresh - the palate. It lacks the subtlety of (say) Champagne, Crémant de Bourgogne or Blanquette de Limoux. Would I buy it? No, because to be honest, at this price (£10.49 from Averys) too many other regions and countries produce better, more refined sparklers.

Looking ahead, tomorrow sees the annual "Best Bottle" tasting at the Nottingham Wine Circle. Given that this event usually throws up a few real gems, I will actually find it hard to resist posting my notes on some of them. Possibly...................... ;-)