The Loire valley is indisputably part of the great French wine heritage, and home to what is probably the most diverse range of wines in France. From crisp, lean whites, over sparkling wines (even red ones!), dry and less dry rosés, fruity or full-bodied and ageworthy reds, to sweet wines with noble rot: Loire has it all.
Among the many white grape varieties used, one stands out in particular: chenin blanc. A somewhat recalcitrant grape, not as obviously and immediately charming as its neighbour sauvignon blanc, but – when handled properly – able to deliver tremendous wines, bot in still, sparkling and sweet versions.
The wine discussed here comes from Azay le Rideau (a name which for many readers will ring a bell – it is also one of the great Loire castles), a geographical indication under the broad AOP “Touraine” (meaning the region around Tours). Indeed, in the last decades, the region has put some effort in identifying and structuring its different types of terroir, hence this more fine-grained distinction within the vast AOP Touraine. Little change as to the grape variety for the whites though: chenin still rules.
This (organic) wine has a medium lemon color, and its fresh, reasonably intense nose is built on citrus fruit and green apple, with a distinct saline note. It is obviously still very youthful. Expectations are confirmed on the palate: tense and vivid, with some herbaceaous and spicy notes coming into play; a very lean style (only 11,5% alcohol!), perhaps lacking some concentration. Medium finish. A good effort from this Loire estate. It paired magnificently with a piece of young goat cheese.
Bought at Titulus Pictus – cave à vins et épicerie fine, Chaussée de Wavre 167A, Ixelles, for €11