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Saturday, November 30, 2013

When Sauvignon Blanc meets Center Loire

Sauvignon is one of the most famous grape varieties that can be found all around the world. You may ask which region is the best, the answer are no doubt in the Center Loire, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. Today I will take you to reveal the secret of the marriage of Sauvignon Blanc and Center Loire. 

As we know, Sauvignon Blanc is a varietal characterized by its beautiful freshness, ingenious, acidity and abundant aromas. We can also find blackcurrant, grass, fresh vegetable and leafy aromas in it sometimes. However, it is not suitable for every region. If it is planted in the hot climate, it will lose many freshness and fruitiness, that’s why we rarely find Sauvignon Blanc under 40˚ of Northern Latitude. Furthermore, Sauvignon Blanc is very vigorous, during the growth of grape we need to remove the new leaves and shots to concentrate the ripening grapes and to achieve a perfect balance between acidity and fruitiness. You may think that there is a mount of region which is required for these conditions, but why Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé are the best place for Sauvignon Blanc.

That’s the mystery of Center Loire’s Climate and Terroir. Thanks to the influence of the continental climate and the distance from the Atlantic, Center Loire is hot in summer but not as long as the other typical appellations in Loire Valley. That gives Sauvignon Blanc enough energy to grow but not influence its freshness and fruity. 

Besides the climate, the Terroir helps to bring more interesting thing to Sauvignon Blanc. In Sancerre, the soil is based on white chalky soil, we call it usually Kimmeridgian like Chablis. However, these soil are quite different, each soil can bring different things in the wine. In the eastern of Sancerre, it has flinty soil which gives a very mineral driven and seems like a steely wine. In the center and southwest part, the soils are chalkier which gives the wines more lovely original aromatics. Toward the west and north of Sancerre, the soil is more gravel and marl which brings more fruity aromas in the wine. 

Meanwhile, Pouilly Fumé has also its own characteristic and speciality. In Pouilly Fumé, there are 4 different kinds of soil: Limestone soils, Marls with oyster shell deposits, Flint, Clayey-flint soil, such as Sancerre, each soil has different influence to the wine. Limestone soil is a warm soil which can give the wine freshness and more fruity aromas. Marls with oyster shell deposit soil helps the wines to ripen more regularly and is less sensitive to climatic variations. Flint soil produces powerful wine with typical flavor of gun flint and spice and the last, sand and clay based soil, Clayey-flint soil. This wine is produced in this region, it’s softer, smother, and less mineral than the others. 

When Sauvignon Blanc meets Center Loire, it shows all of its beauties to us, different microclimate and different soil make completely different kind of wine, If you take your bicycle, walking across the vineyard, and then taste the Sauvignon Blanc wine in the different wineries, you will find more diversities and more mysteries. Then you must be attracted and be falling love with this region, the heaven of Sauvignon Blanc.   

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A love letter to Sancerre

My love, the day that I tasted you, it was love at first sight.

     I was just sitting there, in the corner of a wine bar, not knowing what would come next. I didn't feel like having a Bordeaux or a Burgundy, I wanted something new, something different.

      Then the waiter came to my table and recommanded a glass of white Sancerre, a wine from Loire valley. I thought ‘why not?’. He then brought the gIass to me and that's how I met you.

      After the first sip,  I realized that from that moment on, I couldnt live without you. It’s hard to explain. Your colour, your flavour, your taste were incredible, so complex, so rich. You could match any kind of food, I knew that you would never let me down. Your pale straw yellow dress was glistening. Your  citrus and mineral scent allured me. Your liveliness seduced me. Your taste was well-balanced with intense flavours of peaches and gooseberries. Such a refreshing experience! You gave me everything I had ever expected from a white wine. You walked away but your scent was left floating in the air, all around me, I still had a pleasant crisp acidity taste in my mouth and I was left craving for more.

      I will never forget you, my love.
      From a wine amateur.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

An interview with Chinese wine amateurs

L: Good morning Xiaolu, we are Loire Valley spectators. Welcome to our blog conversation. I’m very glad to see you again.

X: Thank you so much, it’s my pleasure to participate in this interview.

L: The last time you told me that you are very interested in wine from the Loire Valley, at the same time we received lots of demands for many foreign friends about the history of Loire chateaus, the royal family of Loire, and especially the wine of Loire Valley. That’s the reason why we created Loire Valley spectator’s Blog for the wine amateurs like you.

X: That’s great, in China, there are more and more wine amateurs who want to know more about wine besides the Bordeaux wine, I think your Blog is a good way to help us to study wines of Loire Valley. I would really like to thank you for that. 

L: It’s my pleasure. What do you know about the wine of Loire Valley? Have you ever tasted it before?

X: I’ve participated in an exposition of Loire wine in Shanghai in 2011. I’ve tasted a very good white wine, but I can’t remember the grape variety. That’s all I know about the wine of Loire Valley. Can you tell me something Important about the wine regions?

L: Absolutely, in fact the Loire Valley is at the center of France, it is famous for its natural scenes, marvelous châteaux and different kinds of wine. The region is rich in history and culture : Renaissance writer Rabelais was born here; Joan of Arc led French troops to victory in the Hundred Years’ War in the Loire; and it’s known as the Cradle of the French Language. The Loire Valley contains 5 distinct wine regions, from west to east we have : Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine and Centre-Loire, each with its own grapes varieties, terroirs and micro climates.

X:  That sounds interesting, but I don’t know which region produces which kind of wine, can you explain it to me?

L: It’s difficult to separate the wine by region, because we usually find the same style of wine in different regions. So, in Loire Valley, we separate the different wines by their grape varieties, for example:
Crisp Dry White Varietals: Melon de Bourgogne, Romorantin, Sauvignon Blanc
Rich Aromatic White Varietals: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc
Sweet Varietals: Chenin Blanc
Dry Rosé Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Grolleau, Pinot Gris
Off-Dry Rosé Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Grolleau
Fruity Red Varietals: Gamay, Pineau d’Aunis, Pinot Noir
Earthy Red Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Malbec
Sparkling Varietals: Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Grolleau

X: Wow, there are so many kinds of wines in Loire Valley, I think I need sometime to remember these.

L: No, you don’t need to remember all of these, it’s better to remember when you taste the wine. Furthermore, we are going to prepare a fantastic tasting of Loire wine for our friends who are interested in Loire wine, I’ll let you know about the date.

X: That sounds great, Thanks a lot.

L: Thank you for attending our blog conversation too.