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The vineyards that lie to the east of sancerre  towards the loire river sit on flint rather than clay and limestone copy

Sancerre Sees Red

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Dec 2022

Prices of red Burgundy seem to show no sign of easing. In the search for an alternative, wine lovers may head east toward Germany or further afield to New Zealand and Oregon. However, a mere two-hour drive from the Côte de Nuits lies an often-overlooked Pinot Noir region, sitting on coveted ground.

At domaine d orfeuilles in the north of the vouvray appellation. 90  of the crop was lost to hail in june 2021 copy

Chenin Blanc: Wait a Sec

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Sep 2022

No two seasons are alike in the Loire these days. In addition, the reality is that dry wines are far easier to sell today than off-dry and sweet wines. Looking at 2020 and 2021 in the context of current trends, the question remains: while the market clamours for dry Loire Chenin Blanc, is the move towards drier styles in the wines’ best interests?

The village of chavignol is famous not only for its goat cheese but two of the appellation%e2%80%99s most esteemed lieux dits  les monts damn%c3%a9s and les culs de beaujeu cover copy

Sancerre: Finding Its Place

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Forget the grape behind Sancerre, local producers are increasingly keen to push their individual vineyards. With records showing the Sancerrois were using the term “climat” before the Burgundians and with hundreds of individual sites today, it’s important to acknowledge their history, but I wonder if the world demands such detail from Sancerre, or if its winemakers are trying to push wine uphill.

Clos d'isore with filter cover copy

Loire Cabernet Franc: Who Do You Think You Are?

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Over the past two decades the quality of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc has soared. The very best wines are inimitable, elegant, terroir-driven and sensitively handled. They deserve to be discovered, in their own right, as superlative Loire reds, not a fresher alternative to Bordeaux Right Bank nor an affordable offering for Burgundy drinkers. Following four visits to the Loire in the first half of 2021, I was left wondering why Loire Cabernet wasn’t enough, why did it have to be benchmarked against other French wine regions that don’t make single varietal Cabernet Franc?

Clos rougeard breze 2011

Cellar Favorite: 2011 Clos Rougeard Saumur Blanc Brézé

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Loire

Neal Martin, May 2022

It was actually during a visit to Ducru-Beaucaillou that I chanced upon this week’s Cellar Favourite. Entertaining a fellow wine scribe for lunch, proprietor Bruno Borie invited me to choose their pre-prandial white before I had to shoot off to another appointment.

View of maine river from the ch thebaud view platform copy

Muscadet: A Region in Crus Control

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Nov 2021

Life has not been kind to Muscadet producers in recent decades, but with the advent of a cru system, focusing on local terroir and extensive lees ageing, there are reasons for optimism. In my report, I ask if this is the rocket fuel this under-appreciated region needs to revive its fortunes or is it a case of Mission Impossible?

Cf chinon couly october182021

Cellar Favorite: 1964, 1971 and 1974 Domaine Couly-Dutheil Chinon

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Loire

Neal Martin, Oct 2021

During my June stay in Burgundy, I visited a friend in Beaune for supper. Rather than pouring Chardonnay or Pinot Noir, he served exceptional mature Loire wines from his personal cellar that all made a big impression.

Cover the cellars of arnaud lambert are hewn from saumur%e2%80%99s tuffeau rock copy

Cabernet Franc: The Dark Days Are Over

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Oct 2021

Loire Cabernet Franc is not what it used to be. The days of green flavors and rustic tannins have been consigned to history. Not only do the most recent vintages display a riper expression, they reveal a greater understanding of what it takes to make refined Cabernet Franc.

Clos dioterie 1983

Cellar Favorite: 1983 Domaine Charles Joguet Chinon Clos de la Dioterie

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, France: Loire

Neal Martin, Sep 2021

Though I have always adored the Loire, I never had the opportunity to devote time à la Burgundy or Bordeaux. However, in recent weeks, several exceptional mature Loire wines crossed my path. I would be remiss not writing about them.

Looking back toward the hilltop town of sancerre  voted france%e2%80%99s favorite village 2021 winter.jpg copy

Sancerre: Taking the Temperature

featured, France: Loire

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2021

I head to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé to discover growers battling challenging conditions year after year. The latest releases from the hot 2018, 2019 and 2020 vintages offer a ripe expression of Sauvignon in the central Loire, which may be a sign of things to come.