What to drink this week
Loire wines for summer
I’ve always associated the Loire with summer. My first visit there as a teenager was more about châteaux than gastronomy, but I still remember the deliciousness of the ripe local peaches, Charentais melons and cheeses. It seemed a land of plenty.
The Loire offers more than just Sancerre, Harry Eyres reminds us
Why you should be drinking them
The Loire still has so much to offer, not least to wine lovers and especially in summer. Its Cabernet Franc- and Pinot Noir-based reds have an incomparable sappiness and whites from Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin can be both fresh and complex. Probably its most famous name is Sancerre, which is mainly white, but also comes in pink and pale-red forms. This week, I’m concentrating on perhaps less fashionable names that can offer, in my view, better value for money.
What to drink
Muscadet comes from vineyards around Nantes, near the mouth of France’s longest river. It went through a long, dull patch, when vines were heavily cropped and character almost non-existent. However, Muscadet is a resurgent region and the Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Château du Cléray 2017 (below, £10.95; www. fromvineyardsdirect.com), from a fourth-generation family estate, has a beautiful greenish colour, intriguing stoniness on the nose and lively fruit with a prickle of CO2. Far more complex—almost Burgundian—is Vouvray Le Marigny Sec Bernard Fouquet 2016 (£14.95; www.fromvineyardsdirect.com). The subtle nose suggests a bouquet of wildflowers and there is great delicacy, but also power and length on the palate, with just a hint of oak from barrel fermentation. Domaine de l’ermitage Menetou-salon Red 2016 (£17.95; www.fromvineyardsdirect.com) is Pinot Noir at its purest—a bouquet of raspberry and roots with all the Loire’s special, sappy freshness on the palate.