June 16, 2008

Why the Loire?

Anyone reading these meandering musings might wonder: Why so many wines from the Loire Valley?

I like the principal grapes of the Loire Valley's 63 different appellations: Sauvignon Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne, Cabernet Franc, Gamay. In particular, I like Chenin Blanc. It ages gracefully, often has a beautiful, chalky mineralness, and makes beautiful stickies (dessert wines).

The Loire has some of the best terroir in France, named vineyards like the Clos Baudoin and the Clos de la Coulée de Serrant, which have been famous for centuries. And brilliant vignerons and winemakers: Jo Pithon, Nicolas Joly, Marc Angeli, Guy Bossard, Francois Chidaine, Didier Dagueneau, Pierre and Catherine Breton, Edmond Vatan and Gérard Boulay to name a scant few, many of whom converted to biodynamic viticulture a long time ago. And there's also great houses with storied histories, like Huët, Foreau and Baumard.

But the main reason? Wines from the Loire are cheap. If these wines were produced in Bordeaux or Burgundy, I couldn't afford them. These are world-class wines of incredible value. The Loire Valley probably needs to fire it's PR and marketing people. But until they do, it remains one of my favorite places to drink.

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