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This Week's Tasting

Refreshing Loire Values
May 10, 2017

Loire wines are the staple of many a Parisian bistro as well as the nouvelle vague of smaller farm-to-table style restaurants. When they are good  they have a lithe grace that fits the lighter meals we are eating these days.



We've tasted about 60 more reasonably priced Loire wines this winter or spring . The six below are the winners.

Muscadet, is going through a growth spurt and identity crisis. Its crisp acid and mineral flint made it the lower priced French seafood wine of choice. Now new Muscadets, barrel fermented, oak aged, lose its essential character at higher prices. The Gadais Muscadet is true to its roots. Crisp and richened by lees contact, it still has enough fruit to keep it rounded. At 13.99, 11.89 by the casae it outperforms more expensive wines and is is the best value Muscadet we have tasted.

Sometimes fine wines pop up in obscure places. Few people know the Sauvignon Blancs from the Coteaux Giennois (pronounced Ko to Dzhen was). It's an extension northwest and  downriver from Pouilly Fume. In 2015 the Berthier brothers made a razor sharp and clean higher toned sauvignon that is more like their pretty neat Sancerre, except for its amazingly low price. Well worth a try.

Speaking of Sancerre, the Godon estate is back with a fleshier slightly more melony version of their hit 2014 we offered. Again Clean, with a lovely herbal fruit Again it is the best Sancerre we tasted at anywhere near the price.

Federalistas know how good Couly Dutheil's red and white Chinons are. This is a new crossbreed. Not a rose, the Couly-Dutheil Chinon Blanc de Franc  is red Cabernet Franc fermented as a white wine. By no means leaden as Blanc de Noirs are sometimes, it has enough ripeness, acidity and perhaps just a touch of sweetness that make it a delightfully lively spring and summer wine. Unfortunately we have only a couple of cases until more comes early next month.


Cabernet Franc Two Ways

Cabernet New -  From vineyards in St. Nicolas de Bourgeuil, Domaine Rochouard makes a delightfully fruity wine that has all the cocoa spice and herbs that distinguish the Cabernet franc. The 2014 is one of the best yet , with an instantly engaging plum fruit that means it will go well with grilled red meats and cheese.

Cabernet Classic - The Raffault family have been making some of the best wines from Chinon for decades . Olga Raffault took over the domaine at the untimely death of her husband in 1947. Since her death her grandchild,  Sylvie has been rinni9ng the winery with her husband. The winemaking is traditional, qiuasi organic viticulture,  long relatively cool fermentation, elevage in old barrels.

The Les Picasses, from limestone soils, is classic Chionon., Now weighty but concentrated, elegant and long. Already 7 years old, it will age gracefully for another  8 to 10. Serve with Lamb or cheese when you want a structured but more graceful wine than Napa Cabernet or Bordeaux. 


2015 Gadais Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie Grand Reserve; Aroma: flinty grapey, clean, firm acid, striking, lightly mineral herb; Mouth: round lightly fizzy, fleshy bright clean,, fresh herbal acid finish; Very Good Plus 13.99; Mixed Case, 12.59; Case, 11.89

2015 Florian & Clement Berthier Coteaux Giennois; Aroma: closed dense, clean,; Mouth: fine acidity, delineated, juicy, earthy clean,, racy firm, acidity, taught sweet acid clean, firm, piercing; Very Good Plus 15.99; Mixed Case, 14.39; Case, 13.59

2015 Godon Sancerre Tradition; Aroma: lightly grapefruit lightly lightly chalky rather firm; Mouth: bright rather rounded very sweet very rich full, fat; Very Good Plus 21; Mixed Case, 18.9; Case, 17.85

2015 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Blanc de Franc; Aroma: Rounded flinty juicy in the background; Mouth: Juicy peach, rich sweet clean fresh and round, joyful; Very Good Plus 23.99; Mixed Case, 21.59; Case, 20.39


2014 Domaine Rochouard St. Nicolas de Bourgueil Pierre du Lane; Aroma: Heady rather dense, fullish; Mouth: Juicy rather dense thick, spicy, nice weight and body, satisfying; Very Good Plus 18.99; Mixed Case, 17.09; Case, 16.14

2010 Olga Raffault Chinon Les Picasses; Color: medium red black; Aroma: heady earthy rather dense, low toned, firm; Mouth: juicy rather dense, fullish, pretty, the dusty cocoa of classic and elegant Loire Cabernet franc, firm structure; Very Good - Excellent 26.99; Mixed Case, 24.29; Case, 22.94

5-10 Loire Case: Special, two each of the above wines - $206

Instore only 5-10 Loire Pack: Special, one each of the above wines - $109


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: Order@federalwine.com


           - Len Rothenberg


(c) Federal Wine and Spirits Inc. 2017