I love all things from this storied region, but especially Loire Valley white wines. From Muscadet to Sancerre and everything in between (hello, Vouvray!), it’s a part of the wine world where I first discovered my inner wine geek. But are there area of this special spot in France that could use a little more love? Absolutely! Let’s dive in:
Loire Valley White Wines
First up is tiny Cour-Cheverny; you can see it hiding above Touraine. I don’t blame you for not being familiar with it. Cour-Cheverny is a recent addition to the Loire Valley wine map, becoming fully legit as a sanctioned region in 1991. And the grape? Well I really will not hold it against you for not knowing that, either. It’s Romorantin. I know, it was on the tip of your tongue, right?
I found out about this wine thanks to my pal Jenny, who is the mastermind behind The Happy Dance Wine Club via Eastside Cellars in New York. How could I not become a member? So via Jenny hard at work on the East Coast, I was able to mightily enjoy the 2013 Francois Cazin Cour-Cheverny Le Petit Chambord.
If you like white wines that are super-refreshing, this Cour-Cheverny is the ticket. Wine Searcher has it at about 18 bucks on average, so you’ll get some change back on your $20 bill.
Next up is a bottle from a winery near and dear to my heart. When I went to the Loire in 2011, we stopped in a little-known wine appellation: Menetou-Salon. There we visited Domaine Jean Teiller and had a most charming visit. I ended up buying a magnum of their Pinot Noir (and brought it to a dinner featuring a sous-vide goat leg osso bucco) and a bottle of their Rencontre white, which is a rich, oaked Sauvignon Blanc. Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Menetou-Salon resides close to Sancerre and, like that much more well-known region, produces Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir. These wines are not easy to find but if you’re nuts for memorable Sauvignon Blanc and elegant Pinot Noir, you’ll want to put Menetou-Salon on your radar.
I was thrilled to be able to get a case of 2013 Domaine Jean Teiller Menetou-Salon via Garagiste. It’s unusual for me to recommend decanting a white wine, but the first bottle I drank showed much better on day two. But, like the Cour-Cheverny, an extremely pure wine. No extra bells and whistles or gilding of the lily. An excellent Sauvignon Blanc. I’ve got many more bottles to sample and I expect this wine to really shine over the course of the case. I’m planning on drinking about one a month, so it will be really fascinating to see how it develops. And sad when I drink the last one.
No, I won’t feel blue. I’ll be grateful for the transporting experience and the memories that come flooding back. Like dinner at the super-traditional Restaurant Cheu l’Zib. Getting gifted a copy of a super-cool book that’s a photo gallery of the tiny little huts/shacks across Menetou-Salon’s vineyards. Meeting and traveling with great people, fast friends. Walking among the vines, learning about the family, and enjoying the vastness of the unencumbered vistas:
Want more Loire Valley white wines and beyond? Well I wrote an e-book about Melon de Bourgogne, the grape behind Muscadet. GET IT. Also check out these blog posts: