Join Cassandra as she explores an alternative to Champagne.
There is great variety and exceptional value in Loire sparkling wine. Today we are tasting a few examples including:
- NV, Gratien & Meyer, Cremant de Loire, Saumur, France RRP: $23 (AU distributor - Fourth Wave Wines - this is available at Dan Murphy's here)
A great value, well-made, and accessible Crémant de Loire. Chenin blanc 40%, chardonnay 40%, cabernet franc 15%, pinot noir 5%. Opening with green apples, ripe peach, and wildflower honey, and leading onto a generous palate filled with pear skin, white florals, lemon pith, a chalky minerality and a nuttiness on the palate. The slightly coarse bead is forgiven thanks to an overall smooth mouthfeel, retaining freshness even with 12g/L residual sugar.
- NV, Jo Landron, Brut Atmosphères, Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Nantes, France RRP: $52 (AU distributor - Bibendum)
Hailing from the Muscadet Sèvre et Maine appellation, Jo Landron was one of the first Domaines to receive certification for organic and biodynamic practices. This is a stellar wine produced from folle blanche grapes. Minerality is the name of the game here; a stormy day at the beach filled with ocean spray, fresh seaweed, brine, minerality, wet stone, blanched almonds, and green pear. The maritime salinity and acid drive cry out for this to be paired with oysters. Great phenolics and length too.
- NV, Bernard Fouquet, Domaine des Aubusieres, Vouvray Brut, Loire, France RRP $35 (AU distributor - World Wine Estates)
100% chenin blanc from Vouvray AOC. Lime zest, apple pie, white florals, lemon pith, and an enticing hint of spice. The palate follows through with a consistent bead, round mouthfeel, and a long line of acid leading towards a crisp finish. Plenty is going on here, including a tarragon herbaceousness alongside the generosity of fruit. Vibrant and fresh, with great length, this is another excellent value sparkling from Vouvray.
- 2018, Domaine Francois et Julien Pinon, Vouvray Brut Non Dosé, Vouvray, France RRP: $64 (AU distributor - Mosaique Wines)
A 100% organic chenin blanc, zero dosage brut from Vouvray, this was an absolute joy. Blanched almond, stewed green apples, apple blossom, white florals, rose petals, and an oyster shell chalky minerality. The palate continues with baked tart crust, pear skin, lemon curd, sweet spices, and crisp white nectarine. A lovely texture, with a lacy and fine bead that lingers. The shape balloons, offering up a generous mid-palate weight before a lifted finish and integrated acid drive. Balanced, complex, elegant and lengthy.
- 2019, Francois Chidaine, Montlouis Brut Nature, Montlouis sur Loire , France RRP: $67 (AU distributor - Bibendum)
From the appellation of Montlouis sur Loire, just over the river from Vouvray. Francois Chidaine is well respected as one of the greats when it comes to dexterity with chenin blanc. The terroir shines through with sublime fruit, texture and complexity. Green apple, lemon juice, intense jasmine blossom, hay, crushed grass, and sumptuous honeyed notes. A full body and creamy and fine bead with an uplifting saline thread curling through the lemon butter and shortbread loveliness. A thoughtful wine.
The other wines tasted in my story below are available via French Flair and Terroir Selections.
Read the full tasting notes in this article in The Wine Magazine here: