Shopping for some lighter bodied red wines reminded me of why the Loire Valley is such an interesting wine region. In the central Loire Valley, the predominant red variety is Cabernet Franc. That one grape produces a number of different types of wine (sparkling, still, rose, light-bodied through full bodied). These different styles are made possible by the diversity of the soil and altitude.
Lower elevations (nearest the Loire river) are made up of sandy soils. The wines produced here are fruity and lighter bodied. Most wines are treated in stainless steel and/or concrete to keep the fresh flavor of fruit. They are best enjoyed chilled and are great summer sippers.
Mid elevation (gentle slopes) are made up of sand and gravel. The wines produced here can be fermented and aged in stainless, concrete and/or some light or neutral oak. These are middle weight wines that can be enjoyed before dinner by themselves or with food.
The highest elevations including steep slopes and or the tops of hills are generally composed of limestone, also know as Tuffeau (too fo). This is a chalky, yellowish marine limestone that helps provide unique characteristics to some of the oldest vines and the most complex expressions of the Cabernet Franc grape. The wines from this soil are generally aged for longer periods of time in oak which provides more structure.
These wines need food.
Excellent examples of a light bodied Cab Franc (Fabrice Gasnier Les Graves) and a fuller bodied wine (Baudry Les Clos Guillot).
Looking back at 2014, I drank ALOT of wine this year. Please don’t judge.
I would like to share my most memorable wines of the year…
Best white wine value of the year:
2013 Gassac Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc- From the Languedoc region of France- a great source of value wines.
Fresh and clean, this will become one of my favorite summer wines. A blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Clairette.
Most interesting white wines of the year:
This one was a tie so I am listing both:
1. Mayu Sauvignon Blanc. From Chile, The name “Mayu” means “river of stars,” referring to the Milky Way in the Incan language. Notice the night sky on the label. This wine has good minerality and very nice tropical fruit flavors but also a distinct flavor of jalapeño pepper. One of the few wines I would recommend with chicken wings.
2. 2006 Plantagenet Riesling- Great Southern Australia
Growing up, my parents used a kerosene heater (for secondary heat). I am one of those people who enjoys the small of fuel. Diesel, Gasoline and Kerosene are distinctively different and this wine surely has a powerful aroma of kerosene. Kerosene and lime (this wine has both) are very typical aromas of Rieslings form this part of the world.
Overall best white wine of the year…