France – Loire Valley

by Russ Anderson on March 10, 2014

I’ve put together a list of places in the Loire.  As I did, I realized truly how many places there are to visit.  It is a bounty to pick from, hopefully you get to visit some.
The Loire is covered with a wide range of interesting, delicious and many bio-dyamically leaning producers.  The list could certainly get too long in a hurry.  I’ve tried to limit it to ones I know or deal with, but there are many many more.  As you have time, these would be some of the wineries I would visit.
Sancerre –  the wine everyone knows from visits to Paris bistros.  Sauvignon Blanc with a mineral back bone that inspires everyone.
Pascal Reverdy
Quincy – Trotereau
Vouvray – This is one of the best known wines from the Loire and one of the best interpretations of Chenin Blanc.  The wines range from completely dry to dessert sweet and from still to bubbly but all are delicious.
Savenieres – great wines from Chenin Blanc, similar to their neighbor Vouvray, but these wines have a more weighty minerality to them along with a touch more honeyed lanolin.  The older they are the richer they get.
Nicolas Joly – the area grandfather of the biodynamic.
​Domaine du Closel​
​Les Maisons Brulees – 5 Impasse de la Vallee du Loing, 41100 Pouille
Noella Morantin
​Clos Roche Blanche in Touraine, imported by ​Louis/Dressner, great organic producer with a nice range of wines.  I’ve carried them and am trying to get them back in to the market.
Anjou – Pas St Martin –
Chinon – I would think this is the home of Cabernet Franc.  A delightful range of wines that in the right hands, reflect their terroir as well as any grape.  Even some white Chinon from Chenin Blanc hidden here and there.
Joquet – Kermit Lynch import, nice wines, bit of structure.
Baudry – larger house, great range of wines, friendly people.
Olga Raffault
Bourgueil – another spot for Cabernet Franc, these wines tend to have a bit more of a bright cherry note and comforting roundness, especially in their youth to me than Chinon.
​Domaine de la Butte,​
​Filliatreau – ​
Pierre Breton
Oliver Cousin
Saumur Champigny
Clos Rougeard – if you can get in, I would visit this almost cult like Cabernet Franc producer.  When I can get it, I get a couple of bottles at a time.
Fliatreau –
Luneau Papin-excellent people, excellent wines, worth the trip
Domaine de la Louvetrie
Marc olivier
Guy Bossard
Must Trys:
For me, one of the absolutes in the Loire would be to try some old wines.  Almost all of their wines age for incredibly long times.  I would definitely look for some older wines from Chinon, Vouvray, Jasnieres, Quarts de la Chaume, etc.  Aged Muscadet especially shows some wonderful characteristics as it ages, showing more and more Burgundian.
Benchmarks – If possible, I might also try some of the benchmark wines in the area, Didier Dageneau from Pouilly Fume, Vatan from Sancerre, Clos Rougeard from Saumur Champigny, and others.  These are often cheaper in situ and easier to find wines drinking at their peaks.
Different Grapes – Cour Cheverny – Romorantin is the grape here and delicious when well handled.  Domaine Huard does a good one, but their are a bunch of different grapes in the area and I would try some of them as well.  Malbec shows up here as Cot and makes a delicious drink when able to find it.
Dessert Wines – test your palates and try some of these delicious wines, sweet but balanced with acid and delicious with local desserts or on their own – dramatically underestimated here.
Biodynamic/Organic – This is a huge part of the market here.  No real taste through the Loire would be complete without trying some of the best from this segment of the market.  Nicholas Joly is a benchmark for the movement and Jean-Pierre Robinot is one of the latest producers.  To me, these wines are deliciously different for others they are just different.

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