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Famous and upcoming wines of the Loire

By Master of Wine, Christopher Burr


 Famous and upcoming wines of the Loire

One of the oldest and most vineyard planted parts of France is the Loire valley. Historically important with some of the greatest Chateau and home of the Aristocrats, and its proximity to Paris always guarantees a high demand for good wine.

Being one of the most northern and cooler parts of France, the reds are light and fresh, some lovely Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Francs, perfect for summer days, slightly chilled.

The wines from the Loire are really on the up.

My favourite Sauvignon Blanc comes from the Loire. It can be superb from Sancerre and Pouilly Fume where the flavours take on minerally complexity on top of the lovely citric and green apple fruit. However, I have to admit that whilst there can be some superb examples, there are often wines from Sancerre and Pouilly Fume which are disappointing. Not only that, these wines are expensive, normally around £20 a bottle, and can be much more. I hate criticising wines, but if I was to choose a famous white wine which can be the worst value for money, it would be Sancerre!

However, the broader region also produces some of the best value, thank goodness. Maybe a bit of global warming? Maybe a bit of competition from New Zealand? But the wines from the Loire are really on the up.

I will start with Muscadet, which to be honest, went through years of mediocrity, but now is making wonderful, fresh clean citrus and green apple aroma wines, with some richness from being kept on yeast lees for at least six months before bottling. Always look for a Muscadet Sur Lie. From the far west Atlantic region of the Loire and the Pinot Blanc derived grape Melon de Bourgogne, these wines are one of the very best to drink with shellfish, mussels, oysters (the season is only 10 weeks away), crab and lobster, but also grilled white fish.

Try Morrison's "The Best" Muscadet, Sevre Et Maine, Sur Lie which is £9.25, with 25% discount if you buy three bottles. Sainsbury's "Taste the Difference" Muscadet Sur Lie is equally good at £8.50 a bottle, as is the Waitrose Fief Guerin Muscadet Sur Lie at £8.99.

For Sauvignon Blanc lovers, Majestic Wine have a great, complex and bright wine, from the nearby village to Sancerre, the village of Reuilly, the 2021 Blanc, Cuvee Nathalie from Domaine Claude Lafond at £12.99. It is also an organic wine.

But for other good Sauvignons, the wider Loire region of Touraine is now making some excellent wines. I would recommend going back to Morrison's who have a first-rate "The Best" Touraine Sauvignon Blanc called Chainier, with lovely fresh citric fruit, £9 a bottle and as for the Muscadet, there is a 25% discount for a purchase of three bottles.

Most good retailers now have a good Touraine Sauvignon, so well worth trying, they provide good value.

Finally, the other white grape grown widely in the Loire is the Chenin Blanc, and one of the best villages is Saumur. I liked the Sainsbury's "Taste the Difference" Dc Saumur Blanc. More stoney fruit as well as citrus than the sauvignon, so best with poached fish, salmon, trout, and halibut, and £10 per bottle.

Wines from the Loire are ideal for warm summer times. Enjoy.

Christopher Burr. Master of Wine. July 2023.

Christopher Burr, MW

Christopher Burr, MW

Christopher has been involved in the wine business for over 45 years. He is one of only 502 MW’s from 31 countries worldwide. Learn more about his experience as a Master of Wine here.

Read more articles by: Christopher Burr, MW

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