San Salvatore

On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Masterclass on Crémant (Loire Valley)

29 Sep 2022

(April 29, 2022) ...

Gerhild Burkhard led this morning’s Masterclass about Crémant, because there is no better way to start a day than with six glasses of sparkling wine. Gerhild Burkhard

We will start here ...

There are 8 regions for Crémant in France:
Alsace / Bordeaux /  Bourgogne / Die / Jura / Limoux / Loire / Savoie
with 5000 producers and 12,736 hectares in production.

To be considered as Crémant the rules are as follows:

- Traditional method
- Hand harvested
- Minimum 9 months of aging on lees
- Lees must be disgorged
- Maximum sugar level 50g/L
- After 12 months the wine can go to market

Crémant de Loire is centered mainly in Angers-Saumur-Tours with approximately 2600 hectares. The AOP was created in 1975 and the main varieties used are Chenin and Cab Franc with Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Grolleau Noir et Gris plus others are also allowed, but can make up no more than 30%.
60% is exported (23.3 million bottles) of which 65% goes to Germany, 8% to the USA and 7% to the UK.

The Wines … six were sampled, below are my top four

Domaine de las Clartiere 2019 Cremant de Loire
(50% Chardonnay / 30% Chenin / 20% Grolleau Gris)
18 months on lees has developed a creamy palate with nice acidity, plenty of crisp apple, mineral, plus lemon/citrus notes.  (*** ½)

Domaine Baumard NV Carte Turquoise Blanc
(30% Chenin / 40% Cab Franc / 30% Chardonnay)
Leesy/brioche character right off the hop which leads into a creamy mouthfeel, but backed by citrus zest and green apple bite.  (*** ½+)

Domaine Olivier 2017 Cremant de Loire
(70% Chenin / 30% Chardonnay)    
Crispiness based on that punch of acidity from green apple, there’s also a lovely brioche note, pretty floral and lingering citrus. More of this, please.  (****)

Domaine de Nerleux 2018 Art des Loups
(55% Chardonnay / 45% Chenin)
65% of this wine sees new barrel giving it a richness which comes out as honey and lemon zest with good acidity and even a little something spicy.  (*** ½+)


Masterclass on Vouvray (Loire Valley)

28 Sep 2022

(April 28, 2022) ...

Today, it was all about Vouvray with some facts and figures about the region and its wines. Here’s what we learned:

Vouvray is made up of 60% sparkling wines, 30% still/dry wines and 10% off-dry/sweet wines.

Chenin Blanc (aka Pineau de Loire) is the main grape used.

10,000 hectares of Chenin is grown in France - Vouvray makes up 3,000 hectares of that.

There is a sweet side to Vouvray, as 1.5g is still considered dry.

There are 1449 “le dit” - small parcel of land     within the region.

The Wines …
(all wines made from Chenin Blanc)

Domaine de la Canopee 2020 Clairiere Sec Blanc
Nice dry palate, with pear and almond paste notes; there’s also subtle beeswax and good texture. The acidity helps balance the wine.  (****)

Domaine Champalou 2021 Champalou Sec Blanc
There is a perceptible sugary note from the nose to palate: pretty floral and pear notes, but once again the acidity helps to balance the wine and keep it from being syrupy.  (*** ½+)

Domaine de la Galiniere 2019 Terroir Sec Blanc
A little lemon and lime, hints of pear, this one was pretty underwhelming, but still a drinkable wine.  (***+)

Vignoble Chateau Moncontour 2019 Les Chapelles Blanc
Richer texture, almost chewy at points with candied grapefruit, dried pear, and a nice length.  (*** ½+)

Domaine Brisebarre Philippe 2018 Vignoble Brisebarre Sec Blanc
Pretty pear and apple blossom kick things off with a freshness factor that I very much enjoyed. Nice length with subtle semi-sweet beeswax / buckwheat honey finish; all nicely balanced.  (****)

Domaine Brunet Sebastien 2016 Renaissance Sec Blanc
The waxy note seems to dominate the wine; fruit seems to be hiding in the background as the honey and beeswax notes rise to the surface, there's nice acidity and a bitterness to the finish so there is a complex element behind the wine.  (*** ½)


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