Converting to organic
Noyers-sur-Cher, Loire Valley, France
Winemakers: Thierry and Dorothée Michaud
Cool pale yellow with green shimmers. Right off, light grapefruit salutes your nose along with lemon, kumquat, persimmons, lemon/lime jelly belly, and spring blossoms…pretty, pretty. Sipping smooth operator grapefruit that goes rogue with a tangerine touch, pineapple, lemon/lime, pears (a bunch of varieties soft, sweet and hard), a smidge of cantaloupe, and a blade or two of grass.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: So smooth but at the end a kick. This is good
Three generation of this family have loved their land, and Thierry is embracing it with passion in converting to certified organic. The better the land, the better the grapes & vines, and the better the wine. As their motto says, “The search for quality through the expression of our terroir “. I know, I know…I do harp on organic way too much, but I think it all comes from growing up in the country. Well, it used to be country but now it’s suburbia. Breaks my heart when I go home to visit and see the few gnarled apple trees left and acres sold off that are now filled with apartment buildings. In my youth my part of the world was so beautiful and wild and safe. Our neighbors were rabbits, chipmunks, deer, and the occasional frisky fox. I’d climb up into my favorite tree, my imagination roaming free, and let Mother Nature embrace me.
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Domaine de la Renaudie
Touraine Chenonceaux AOP 2019
100% Sauvignon Blanc
Terra Vitis and HVE certified
Mareuil sur Cher, Loire Valley, France
Winemaking Family: Charlotte (daughter that is now at the helm), Patricia and Bruno Denis
Light golden straw. Delicious scents of tangerine, grapefruit (not whack you over the head like some IPAs but gentle), apricot, pears, and of all things…Mom’s lemon custard pie, wow what a weird memory (sans the meringue). I’m realizing there are so many of her recipes that I need to reinvestigate and maybe even attempt. Back to the taste and there’s pears, apricot, kumquot, pineapple, honeysuckle and some of that smooth lemon pie filling is still there with a thin slice of fresh zest on top, and a smidge of herb like rosemary on the back and exhale. As it opens it grows into a more sophisticated encounter or rather a date night, and I think I need to switch up outfits from comfy casual. Now’s time for that sequin dress but still rocking my old favorite La Canadienne nubuck knee boots. You never know when you may have to hit the dance floor!
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: it’s nice, like a picnic…but I’d rather stay on my date in the sequins
Domaine de la Renaudie’s wines (including this one) have racked up the awards and accolades, but none of that is as important as the care this family has for their land and what they produce. There’s a lovely video of Charlotte giving you the quick tour, and you can see that passion and love in her eyes as she speaks of their soil, climate and her great-grandfather’s special Côt wine. Please check it out because my words do not do it justice, so I will end with their quote, “Like those who came before us, we remain humble and modest in front of Nature, we take the time to observe and respect.”
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Vin de France
70% Cinsault & 30% Cabernet Franc
5 months aging in concrete tanks
Organic, biodynamic, wild yeasts, unfined and unfiltered
Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil, Loire Valley, France
Winemaker: Sébastien David
Pretty, pretty salmon color. First whiff out of the gate is buttercream, quickly followed by cherry pie, watermelon, and a smidge of funk with some interesting good depth. This ain’t your mama’s rosé. Ooh this tastes so good! Here’s that watermelon again, then a squish of lemon and also orange zest, and a salted cherry Starburst…you’ve never thought about doing that? C’mon we all do it with Snickers minis. why not? Wait, am I the only one? Back to the wine…there’s also a pull off the end of a croissant with a dab of clotted cream. Delicious!
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: oof so tart. Just put them away
So I’ve learned a new word that I never would have thought of hearing: “Hurluberlu” which from what I’m finding is “one who looks at the stars and planets to show him how to grow” and in some cases just an “eccentric man”. Hmmmm, well evidently this is part of Sébastien’s magic. He not only looks back to the past generations (he’s 15th) for guidance and techniques but also to the future with going biodynamic and permaculture. Another part of the future or branching out is when he took his first steps toward a rosé in “Lisounette”. Well, as you can read above, the 2020 rocks! If it’s due to following celestial bodies, then I say lets all break out our telescopes and go moon bathing!
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Le Fief Noir
100% Chenin Blanc
Certified organic and hand-harvested
St-Lambert du Lattay, Loire, France
Winemakers: Alexis Soulas and Dominique Sirot
Golden starlight twinkle twinkle. Pull the cork and breathing buttercream, butterscotch that fades into pineapple, yellow watermelon (yeah each color/one does smell different), lemon and lemon vanilla wafer. Sipping creamy salty lemon, key lime, kumquat, very mellow papaya, light orangey pops, and honey filled pear. I think I’ve had my weekly allotment of fruit! There’s also dried sage in the end and then bring that citrus back round again with a salt shake. So sweet, calm, and clean and bright that is yearning for some yellow fin sushi with jalapeño.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: Raises the citrus
Alexis Soulas and Dominique Sirot became friends and hatched their wine plan in Corsica, but Anjou was where they landed. Back in 2012, they tasted the wine of Domaine des Chesnaies, decided this was the exact place for their project to take root, and after a renaming Le Fief Noir was born. Soil is the key and king here. The black schist of L’Anjou Noir is perfect for Chenin Blanc and also is where their name Le Fief Noir stemmed. Their passion for their wines is evident in the bottle and in their writings online. They have a lot to say, check their website. Alexis Soulas says, “A wine is never entirely finished. It belongs to the one who get it. This is this open field to interpretation, this co-creation, which make our job so beautiful.” I love that any of us can become part of their world and the story of their wine.
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Domaine de La Pinardière
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2019
100% Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne)
Vallet, Loire Valley, France
Owner/Winemaker: Christophe Olivier (4th generation of this longstanding wine family)
Shiny golden with a light green hue. Scents of seaside saltiness then open to green apples, a mix of pretty pears, and granite. Sipping in pears, golden delicious apples that when you bite in are juicy and crisp all at once, a minerally lick of a rock, shake (or two) of salt, and a spark of lime zip. So fresh! Exhale and there’s a little salty peatiness in the back of your mouth. Smooth…Oh this is an old friend that stays consistent each time I meet you, and you always make me crave shrimp, langoustines, and oysters…but then when am I not craving those.
Pairs with Cheez-It’s: ooh clean and lovely
I first met this wine on a night on my own. Walking home, I passed a bustling oyster bar and noticed the window seat open, and that never happened. My S.O. was living in Switzerland, and I was missing him and decided to treat myself but not break the budget. The sun was dimming, and this little glass transported me to France. It became a stop on evenings when it was still too warm to go home and this glass of muscadet was a delightful partner with a handful of oysters. Tonight, this wine is just the same as it was in the past and all of these memories and emotions come flying back. It’s amazing how time flies, places close, people move…sigh…but so happy to have some things not change.
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