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Snooth User: Cathy Shore

Hello from the Loire valley

Posted by Cathy Shore, Feb 12, 2010.

A big hello from the Loire valley in France. I'm an English wine trade professional who moved here to live in 2006. Based between Angers and Saumur, I'd be happy to hear from anyone who has questions about the Loire or has tasted something special they think I should know about. Look forward to hearing from you.

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 12, 2010.

Welcome to Snooth, Cathy. Would love to hear about the wines you love from your area. Since I drink a lot of good sauvignon blanc, cabernet franc and even some chenin blanc (I say 'even' because of many sad examples I had years ago in California), I'm sure you have a plenty of knowledge I'd be interested in....

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Reply by amour, Feb 12, 2010.

Welcome to Snooth!
On my way to work!
Would be in touch!
Lots to talk about!
I am a Londoner and love England, France and Europe generally.
I live for French gastronomy.
About Vallee de la Loire...... I visited the late Didier Dagueneau
and have written a poem in his memory.
Will be coming to present it to Charlotte and Louis Benjamin,
his children.
Would you know the latest with regard to his wines.

I know PUR SANG and SILEX and L'Asteroide, as well as the
first vintage Les Jardins de Babylone, also Buisson-Renard from Menard!
What a sweet JURANCON Didier produced.

Will be back!
Thanks for offering to share.
Would love to interact with you and learn a thing or two.
Cheers!

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 12, 2010.

Welcome! And thanks for your quick input on the Noblaie! Look forward to hearing more about the region..

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 12, 2010.

Forgot to mention malbec, or rather 'cot' where you're from. Have recently had some interesting and quite likable (other than my stained teeth ;-) ) bottles from Domaine Ricard and Clos Roche Blanche. Any views on them or versions from other producers in the Loire?

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 14, 2010.

Hi Cathy,

I have a question for you... I was talking with an acquaintance who recently visited France. She was telling me of a wine she had in Loire and would like to find it again, but didn't write down the name.... Probably close to impossible to identify, but perhaps you might give a guess?

She was in the town of Gien. The waiter happened to speak some English and was knowledgable on wine. She was unfamiliar with the Loire wines, and told him she typically drank zin, and that she didn't really care for cabs. All she knows about the one he picked for her is that it was a blend of three grapes, and that the grapes where grown in chalky soil (perhaps that is indicative of that area of Loire..don't know).

Any ideas?

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 14, 2010.

Hi there
If your acquaintance was in Gien then she would have been under the appellation of Coteaux du Giennois which falls in the Department of the Loiret. This is a relatively new appellation (late 90's) as it was a VDQS region before this. There are only two permitted grape varieties in the appellation and they are Gamay and Pinot Noir and red wines must be a blend of the two varieties but with neither one exceeding 80% of the blend. This is where it doesn't really fit in with the 'zin' preference as wines from Gamay and Pinot Noir tend to be pretty light in style unlike the Cab Francs from around where we are in Anjou and Saumur.
But, Cab Franc is happiest on chalky soil as it is sensitive to water stress and the tuffeau soil profile in this area retains water. So, the fact that it was made from 3 varieties and not 2 leads me to think that it could be from that area and not from where she was at the time (although in the Loire - but maybe a few hundred km away!).
If it came from Touraine - further West but closer than Anjou Saumur it could have been a blend of Cab Franc, Cab Sauvignon, Cot (Malbec),Gamay, Pineau d'Aunis and Pinot Noir. Soils in the Touraine vary enormously but there are some areas with chalky subsoil.
As you move further west towards Chinon and Saumur, wines are dominated by Cab Franc but with some Cabernet Sauvignon and Pineau d'Aunis permitted in the blend. I'm inclined to think that maybe this is more likely. This is real chalk land with the area being heavily quarried for the tuffeau limestone to build the great chateaux many years ago. I guess the question would be to ask what kind of weight the wine was. If it was gutsy and full bodied then it rules out the grape varieties used in the East and if it was light then it rules them in!
This is probably of absolutely no use at all! I know how frustrating it is to drink something and not make a mental note of it. I find I have to make notes if I am to remember wines I have drunk and despite being a wine professional, I'm more likely to remember things that I have eaten (what does this say about me?).

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Reply by napagirl68, Feb 14, 2010.

Thank you Cathy! This is very helpful.. I thought too, that the fact that she was at a restaurant does not mean she was getting wine made in that appelation. I know nothing about the french and their wines, but she did seem to get the impression that the various regions were very proprietal about their wine, often claiming their area to be the best in France! So I guess this led her to believe that the wine must've been local to Gien. But perhaps in a restaurant setting, they would have other Loire area wines. And she did make note of the heavy chalk. Also, I am remebering she said it tasted something between a zin and cab. I don't know what that means to her, but it definitely could be a cab franc blend.

Do you have any specific recommendations of cab franc blends from the heaviest chalk vineyards? She did make a point that the waiter had said the vines were grown in "almost pure chalk".

I carry a leather bound journal and write everything down, or photograph the label with my camera phone. I, too, have regretted not recording specifics about a wine. Oftentimes, I remember the vineyard, but forget the vintage. My friends laugh when I take out my wine journal.. since it is black leather, they call it my Bible!

I am really enjoying learning about the Loire... it is a region I want to visit since my all time fav. varietal is Cab Franc...

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Reply by dirkwdeyoung, Feb 14, 2010.

It is paradise!! You should go as soon as possible and now it sounds like you have a like minded knowledgeble guide (who speaks english) Esp. when it opens up on the sea and you get the seafood with the Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie.

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 15, 2010.

Would love to welcome you all over here. It is a beautiful place and with some fantastic wines. Speaking English is an advantage, especially with the smaller growers who only speak French. Well I'm off out now - we are currently pruning the vineyard for Chateau de Pimpean in Grezillé - it's in the Anjou Villages appellation and produces just one wine called La Passion. The vines have been poorly pruned by amateurs for the past few years and so we have a lot of big wood to remove with loppers before choosing the final cuts for the baguette and rappel. It's hard work in the cold but very satisfying to help the vineyard back to health. And the wine is good already so who knows what the impact will be. You can see where we are on their website - I'll dig out the link later on - got to dash now.

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Reply by amour, Feb 15, 2010.

dirkwdeyoung...thanks for remembering to make a point of
adding the SUR LIE after the MUSCADET....as sur lie makes a big difference..
that prickle on the tongue...as the wine has been left on the dead yeast cells
for a specified period and is a real joy as against some of those wishy-
washy things called plainly Muscadet.

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 15, 2010.

Muscadet has had a difficult time recently on the marketplace. It's doing well exporting to China now I hear! That's the market to watch.

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 15, 2010.

dmcker - did you get my reply to your message about cot?

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 15, 2010.

This is the estate where we are currently pruning http://www.pimpean.com An amazing old chateau that is a massive restoration project for the current owners. There is a 15th century chapel which has a replica in Paris and the labels on the wine portray the angels that are painted on the ceiling of the chapel.

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Reply by dmcker, Feb 15, 2010.

Cathy, didn't notice anything in this thread or my mailbox (where I see I have several messages from others to answer)...

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Reply by amour, Feb 15, 2010.

Cathy Shore, once again, we all apppreciate your sharing nature.

I am sure that some of us imagine we are with you, as we read you!

Sort of like JULIE&JULIA....well...not really!
But you know what we mean!
THANKS!
CHEERS!

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Reply by penguinoid, Feb 17, 2010.

I've not been keeping up with what's happening on snooth lately, so just wanted add a belated welcome message. I've really enjoyed the Loire valley wines I've got to try so far, a Savennières (1995 Domaine aux Moines) being my favourite. I'm hoping I'll get to visit the Loire whenever I next visit France!

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 17, 2010.

Hi penguinoid,

What a coincidence. We had a really hard day pruning yesterday (it was minus 8) - the weather was bright and sunny and when we got back were in the mood for something truly uplifting. We just LOVE Savennières so pulled a bottle of Domaine aux Moines 1992 out of the cellar. It was just incredible - a rich golden colour, a nose of exotic wild honey with a touch of white flowers, a note of grapefruit and wax. You could so easily be fooled on the nose into thinking it would be a sweet or at least an off-dry wine. On the palate, rich, full, complex, mineral, honey, caramel and dry. Just fantastic and because Savennières is a wine that doesn't want to be served too cold, no need for the fridge either. And, it gets better if left a day or two - how brilliant is that - it doesn't go off, it just gets better. I've got about a glass left and have 4 students coming tonight. They are all at winemaking school but come from different countries so I'm going to let them have a taste.
Not a cheap wine at 16 Euros cellar door but where else can you find such beautifully crafted wine with nearly 18 years of age? Certainly gives Burgundy a run for its money.
I've got some photos of Domaine aux Moines that I took in October last year when they were harvesting - here's a link if you'd like to have a look http://www.facebook.com/album.php?a...

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 17, 2010.

Hi Amour
Thanks for the message. Just back from a very drizzly wet morning in the vineyard. Yesterday was redeemed by the excellent bottle of Savennieres as recounted above to penguinoid. I served it with a very simple supper of steamed leeks, wrapped in ham covered in cheese sauce and baked. Simple comforting food from my childhood - not at all worthy of the great wine we drank but nevertheless a good food and wine match. I think a wild mushroom risotto would have been better (in fact this is what Mme Laroche recommends at Domaine aux Moines).

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Reply by Cathy Shore, Feb 17, 2010.

Hi dmcker
Clos Roche Blance has a great reputation (the vines are around 100 years old I think) so they have great concentration. I love Cot in all its forms but Malbec around here is certainly different to that planted elsewhere such as in the South of France or in Argentina. We buy from Henry Marionnet in Soings en Sologne. He also makes wines from ungrafted vines (Gamay), unsulphured Gamay, Romorantin from a pre-phylloxera vineyard amongst others. I'd like to try some more examples myself because we are dominated by Cabernet Franc in our patch (because of appellation stipulation).

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Reply by penguinoid, Feb 20, 2010.

Hi Cathy,

That's a good description of the Domaine aux Moines. I've only tried the 1995 vintage, but it's a fantastic wine. I'm hoping I can visit Savennières one day. I guess €16 isn't what you'd call cheap, but for a perfectly cellared 18 year old wine like that, it seems pretty decent value. I've looked at their website and they seem to keep a good range of back vintages -- is this common for wineries in that area?

Thanks for the link to the Facebook photo gallery. I notice I'm one of the people (Gavin) listed as liking that gallery...

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