Our first day in the Loire brought us to a cloudy Touraine where we spent most of our day with the leadership team at Loire Propriétés, and checked in with Christophe Godet at Domaine de Marcé.
Our tasting took place at Vignerons Oisly & Thesee, a cooperative holding 500 acres of mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc in the small towns of Oisly and Thesee which usually are considered the best in the Touraine region. You know by now how we feel about cooperatives – That when managed strategically they can turn out plenty of individual, engaging wines. Loire Propriétés is one such cooperative, and actually what you’d call a “supercooperative” (ie a large parent cooperative made up multiple smaller cooperatives). 250 winegrower members, organized into 10 smaller cooperatives, make up the group, many of who are bottling estate grown wines, some from iconic Loire chateaux! Sound interesting? Estate grown wines at a cooperative? Yes! As we’ve said before there are some progressive co-ops out there these days urging you to rethink everything you think you know about the category.
Caves de la Loire “Les Anges” 18 Sauvignon Blanc, juicy, very goodLes Anges 18 Chardonnay, boring, but full and fruity, would make people happy thoughCaves de la Loire “Les Anges” 18 Chenin Blanc, crisp, more acidityCaves de la Loire “Les Anges” 17 Pinot Noir, good, a little short on character, but what do you expect for pricing this sharpCaves de la Loire “Les Anges” 18 Cabernet Franc, dry, aromatic, a little funkyCaves de la Loire “Elysis” 18 Rosé d’Anjou, fresh, nice sweetnessVignerons du Pallet “Les Petites Sardines” 17 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie, easy, soft styleVignerons du Pallet “Jubilation” 15 Muscadet Cru Le Pallet, complex, classO&T 17 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, showing well, good acidityDomaine du Grand Cerf 17 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, typical, full, juicyVins de Rabelais “Les Romances” 17 Vouvray, seems sweetish, but technically isn’t, apparentlyVins de Rabelais 15 Chinon “Fauteuil Rouge,” mature and rich, There is better value than this at LPLes Roches Blanches 17 Vouvray full, typical, freshChateau de Valmer 17 Vouvray, character, aromaticChateau de Brossay 18 Cabernet d’Anjou, flavor, full, some sweetnessDomane Croix St. Louis 15 Chinon, somewhat mature and boringChateau de Mauny 18 Rosé de Loire, some complexity and depthChateau de Mauny Crémant de Loire Brutt, fresh, soft, very goodChateau de Brissac 14 Crémant de Loire Brut, fine, balanced, softDomaine Touchais NV Saumur Brut, serious, dry and fuillChateau de Valmer NV Vouvray Brut, rich, full, long, bravo
We tasted dozens of 2018 O&T wines from tank; most of which showed very well. Below is some tank tasting “reality television” for you:
Very good tasting overall. great stuff at very competitive prices. We pulled the trigger on Chateau de Mauny, Chateau de Valmer, and Vignerons du Pallet (including the very fine bottle aged “Jubilation” Cuvee). Does the whole Vignerons du Pallet thing perk your ears? This is a fairly small, atypical coop of 10 members, all from Le Pallet in the heart of Muscadet. They have 250 acres and an average production of some 800.000 bottles. All 10 members have their own properties, they bottle and sell a part of their production themselves and another part goes to the coop for use in a larger appellation “blend.” The President is one of the owners and so is the winemaker. The facilities are at one member’s winery. “Le Pallet” the vineyard is one of the Crus of Muscadet, there are seven crus in all, and is considered by many as the best. The soil is interesting, the northwest part of the town consists of light colored rocks (Roches Blanches) mixed with sand and the southwest area is dark colored (Roches Noires) and sand. Their “Jubilation” bottling referenced above represents a new movement in the appellation towards intense, bottle aged Muscadet with better selection, later harvesting, and longer aging on the lees. These wines are very different, more serious, fuller and real aging potential. For some stupid reason wines in this category cannot be called “sur lie” although they stay much longer on them. Odd.
This Domaine is a few kilometers down the road from Les Vignerons Oisly & Thesee and the idea here is to bring you a premium Touraine Sauvignon option – Something a step up in price and complexity from O+T for the select few accounts smart enough to know how much value Christophe Godet can pack into a bottle. So many accounts are glass pouring “Vin de Loire” Sauvignon Blanc as a Sancerre alternative but this approach (something from an individualistic appellation) is a better way to go. In all this is an 80 acre estate, mostly planted to Touraine Sauvignon Blanc. A part of 12 acres has been classified as Oisly which is a new “Cru” similar to Reuilly, Quincy, or Sancerre. Farming at Domaine Marcé is organic, and most vines are pretty damn old. More tank tasting “reality television” for you below!
As you see above we tasted many different tanks of 2018 Touraine and Oisly Sauvignon with Christophe and overall we were able to leave with a better feel for this unsung appellation.
Domaine Marcé 18 Touraine Sauvignon Blanc, good body, ripeness, balanced acid, a lot of Sauvignon for the price.Domaine Marcé 18 Oisly Sauvignon Blanc, somewhat bigger and better but the price difference does not seem wholly justified this vintage.
Great domaine, great people. Let’s try to get more Touraine Sauvignon out there in the world shall we?