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    Loire Valley Wines to Try for this Spring | Watson's Wine

    Loire Valley Wines to Try for this Spring

    Spring WineVincent Yuen
    By guest blogger  Vincent Yuen 隨意走,尋找甜蜜生活!
    Instagram @vincent.ms.yuen

    Vincent Yuen is an Italian wine book author and a freelance editor. He holds a WSET Diploma, Italian Wine Ambassador, Certified Italian Wine Educator, Italian Wine Scholar, Sud de France Master-Level Certificate and SSI International Kikisake-shi qualifications. With extensive experience in wine education, he believes both rationality and sensibility are essential to tasting. In addition to wine tasting, he is also the official olive oil taster of O.N.A.O.O (Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Olio di Oliva), a Olive Oil Sommelier, and a member of Chaine des Rotisseurs.

    The English version is a translation of the original in Chinese for information purposes only.

    Spring is here and flowers are blooming.

    Spring is more than just a season; it brings life to the world after winter. As the temperature gradually rises, creature awakens amid thawing frozen soil. The bare trees began to sprout leaves and flowers began to bloom, filling the fields with a variety of colours. Life returns to its various forms and begins to flourish, returning the world to its normal rhythm.

    The air is once again filled with the sweet scent of flowers and the melodic songs of birds migrating back from winter. The song awakens the grapevines from dormancy, and the melting snow washes away its memories of the old year. Grapevines sprout new growth from dormant buds, bringing hope to grape growers, wineries and wine lovers. In this special season, I would like to introduce two aromatic wines from Loire Valley, a wine region that you may have neglect.

    Loire Valley

    Loire Valley is named after Loire River, with a length of more than 1,000 kilometers from east to west. It flows from central and northern France into the Atlantic Ocean and runs through the entire Loire Valley wine region. This valley is a vast area of French wine production, bringing together several wine regions with diverse climate: from the continental climate to oceanic climate, plus the tributaries of the Loire River’s impact on climate, giving birth to the unique terroir of each region, which in turn affects the grape varieties and wine styles.

    Map of Loire Valley Source : www.vinsvaldeloire.fr

    There are 87 AOCs or IGPs in the entire Loire Valley. Generally speaking, the Loire Valley is divided into three parts, namely Upper Loire, Middle Loire and Lower Loire. This time, we will mainly talk about Sancerre in Upper Loire and Anjou in Middle Loire.

    Chateau of Chambord Source : www.chambord.org


    Sancerre is located southeast of Orleans and is one of the most famous AOCs in the Loire Valley.

    Sancerre is most famous for the aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc was planted in Sancerre after the phylloxera (Phylloxera), and now accounts for 80% of the region’s production.

    Sauvignon Blanc

    Made famous by Marlborough of New Zealand, Sauvignon Blanc needs no introduction. Depending on the climate and the ripeness of the grapes, Sauvignon Blanc may extrude aromas of white flowers and herbs such as green pepper and asparagus, and/or fruity notes of apples, lemons and tropical fruits such as peaches or passion fruit. It has high acidity and a light to medium body.

    The climate of Sancerre is cooler than that of Marlborough. Thus, the taste of Sauvignon Blanc is more on green fruit and lemon. Although it is less fruity than that of Marlborough, the earthy notes including chalky, stony, Kimmeridgian clay and Silex, giving the wine a heavier minerality. Amongst, Silex adds flint and smoky flavors to the wine.

    Domaine Vacheron – Vacheron Sancerre Blanc 2022

    The winery practices biodynamics on its Silex terroir

    This medium-bodied wine has a medium lemon hue, with aromas of white flowers, green peppers, cut grass, green apples, winter pears, lemons, green lemons, and pomegranates. The first sip is filled with flint, followed by waves of lime, lemon, and a hint of bitterness from orange peel. Once the fruity flavour is gone, what is left is the imprint of flinty notes, like the mark on the beach after the tide recedes, deeply imprinted in your memory.

    Unlike New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the passionfruit flavor in this wine is replaced by flinty notes and smokiness, bringing out the freshness and clarity of Sauvignon Blanc, just like a spring morning with hope and anticipation.


    Going west along the Loire River you’ll come to the Anjou. The climate here is continental and relatively mild. Due to its proximity to the Atlantic Ocean, it is also affected by the oceanic climate. The grapes grown here are very different from those in Upper Loire, with Chenin Blanc being the main white grape variety. For reds, they would be Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and an aromatic one I am going to introduce next – Cabernet Franc.

    Cabernet Franc

    You may be familiar with Cabernet Franc from Bordeaux. It plays a supporting role in Bordeaux and can be said to be the best supporting actor. It brings violet floral aroma and pepper flavor to the wine. However, in Anjou, Cabernet Franc is a unique and versatile leading actor. It could be used for a single-varietal wine, also rosé and sparkling wines.

    Cabernet Franc has a history of more than 700 years in Loire Valley. The local limestone, sand and gravel, coupled with the cool weather, created an ideal conditions for the growth of Cabernet Franc.

    Clau de Nell Clau De Nell Cabernet Franc 2020

    If you are a lover of Burgundy, you may have seen Biodynamic pioneer Anne Claude Leflaive’s name on the label before. Yet, do not be mistaken that is a red from Domaine Leflaive. In fact, it is from a winery acquired by Anne Claude Leflaive and her husband Christian Jacques in Anjou. Both estates practice Biodynamic farming, yet the wines they produce are very different in style due to the fruit and the terroir.

    Christian Jacques (left) Source : Clau de Nell

    Made with 100% Cabernet Franc.

    This wine is fruit-forward, light, lively and full of spring energy.

    The acidity, like the spring breeze, brings a sense of freshness. The silky tannins are round and delicate. On the palate you can taste black pepper, tomato leaves, licorice, minerals, sage, mint, tobacco leaves and black coffee.

    This wine is fruit-forward, light, lively and full of spring energy.