The Loire has always been a region which has fascinated me, but for unknown reasons I have never delved deep. Considering how Burgundy has pushed its prices into the realms of the ridiculous and a feeling they do not know how to combat the increased alcohol caused by climate change, I have radically reduced the amounts I buy and for this reason it seemed the right time to get past my superficial knowledge of the Loire.
The Loire has a reputation in France of a region which offers good value. At a tasting in Strasburg it became clear this is a massive understatement. The quality from some producers unbeknown to me was staggering, Vouvrays with an ageing potential of 20 years for under 15 €. Savenierres for under 25€, it all seemed to good to be true.
Perhaps the two producers, who fascinated me most were Jackie Blot of Taille aux Loup/Domaine de la Butte and Romain Guiberteau of Domaine Guiberteau. Blots wines did not prove too difficult to obtain, the prices have gone up in recent years but in comparison to Burgundy, they are still a steal. Blots style is more Burgundian, drinkers used to Chassagne Montrachet will feel comfortable with his whites. His reds are very concentrated, again more in the burgundian style, they need serious cellaring. For those put off by Burgundys and Bordeauxs inflationary prices, these are a savvy alternative.
Guiberteau proved to be more elusive, in the past I have had some of his Brézé, but they have always been too young to really show their potential. Luckily managed to get a small allocation last week. Realising the wine is way to young to drink yet could not resist opening their entry level Saumur Blanc 2018 and Saumur Rouge 2018 just to get an initial feel.
The white had quite a muted nose, glacial yellow colour. The first sip was of mouthwatering green apples, with time and as the wine warmed up, its complexity started to shine through, in fact the fruit element dissolved more into the background and the minerality took over, acidity is medium giving this wine great balance. For an entry level wine fantastic finish. The other wines are too limited to sacrifice one now but going from this wine one can expect gret things.
The red was more perplexing, one of those wines which would fail in a comparative tasting with fruit forward reds being judged by those superficial class of testers who can gauge a wine with one sip which is then spitted out. Again the nose is muted, concetrated purple/red. On the palate very embryonic, you can feel the depth, but not much nuances coming through. What is striking is the acidity, massive. This wine needs some serious cellaring.