October 1st, 2015
The snow hadn’t arrived… yet. The sun was shining on this night, both literally – it was a nice, balmy 20 degrees in Calgary on the first day of October – and figuratively, as inside the Kensington Wine Market’s tasting room people loved some bright, sunny wines from France’s Loire Valley.
The Loire is a fascinating, almost paradoxical wine-making region at the moment. People have loved their wines for a long time, yet most of the region’s treasures are just now being discovered and appreciated. There also seems to be a bit of a push towards quality within the Loire, yet there is also a bounty of phenomenal wines that have always been there, just waiting for some evangelists to praise their worth to the masses. This tasting at the Kensington Wine Market was about discovering some of these gems, and rediscovering some old favourites.
And in the end, it was a wine from a place unfamiliar to our group that won them over. A single vineyard Savennieres from Domaine du Closel was the runaway champion of the evening. Below is a complete list of what we tasted, with a few notes on the wines.
Thanks to all who came. And, to my owner Andrew, that was low. You know what I’m talking about!
NV BERNARD FOUQUET Vouvray Brut Methode Traditionnelle (Vouvray, Touraine) – $25.
“The latest rendition of Aubuisieres Non-Vintage Vouvray Brut Methode Traditionelle smells of ripe melons and narcissus, with a whiff of snuffed candle wick. Pineapple and lime join the melons on a juicy, delicate palate, with hints of salt as well as pungent citrus zest and smoke adding to the invigoration conveyed by a fine stream of bubbles. I was surprised to find the finish entirely satisfying and fruit-filled despite there being a mere 2 grams of residual sugar. The latest installment of what is surely the consistently best value in its appellation. – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
2010 VERDIER Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Chateau de l’Oiseliniere (Muscadet, Nantais) – $18.
“The lemon and grapefruit pulp notes are backed by a flash of straw. Drink now.” – Wine Spectator
2012 JONATHAN & DIDIER PABIOT Pouilly-Fume “Aubaine” (Pouilly-Fume, Central Vineyards) – $49.
“The 2012 Pouilly-Fumé Aubaine with its lime greenish citrus color comes from a 0.3-hectare river bank parcel in Tracy where 45-year-old Sauvignon vines root in poor calcareous clay soils (“Marnes Portlandien” and “Oxfordien”) and produce a small yield. After pressing, this spontaneously fermented wine was kept on its lees in concrete tanks for more than 10 months at a constant low temperature. It reveals a lovely clear and dense bouquet with invitingly tropical fruit flavors. On the palate this is a full-bodied, fruit-intense, minerally structured and elegant Sauvignon with a lot of extract, a grippy finish and a remarkable powerful length. This excellent wine is already accessible, but will keep its top form for another three years.” – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
2013 VINCENT DELAPORT Sancerre “Maxime Vieilles Vignes Sur Siliex” (Sancerre, Central Vineyards) – $50.
“Features a light shortbread frame, with alluring straw, lemon chiffon and verbena notes that all glide through the finish. Not dense, but fresh and expressive. Drink now.” – 2012 Vintage, Wine Spectator
2010 DOMAINE DU CLOSEL Savennieres Clos du Papillon (Savinnieres, Anjou-Saumur) – $62.
“Take your pick – all of these offerings are full-bodied, rich, concentrated wines in varying states of evolution. They are classic examples of the heights Chenin Blanc can achieve in the soils of Savennieres. The availability of these impressive wines is extremely limited.” – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
2012 MARCADET Touraine Gamay Domaine des Chezelles (Touraine)
Alain Marcadet’s Domaine is a perennial award-winning Estate and unquestionably the most consistent producer in the Touraine appellation. The Estate consists of a patchwork of vineyards on the sandy limestone slopes of the River Cher, which lends a mineral character to the wines.
2012 DOMAINE DE PALLUS Chinon “Les Pensees de Pallus” (Chinon, Touraine) – $27.
“A fresh, chalk-edged style, with good cut to the bitter cherry and plum fruit. Notes of savory, charcoal and tobacco leaf underscore the finish. A solid, traditional style. Drink now through 2016. 2,000 cases made.” – Wine Spectator