"The 2002 Savennieres Clos du Papillon explodes from the glass with intense mineral notes. Complex, medium-bodied and profound, its concentrated core displays a panoply of flavors. Honeysuckle blossoms, sun dried spices, almonds, chalk, and white flowers are found throughout its nuanced personality as well as in its prolonged finish. Wow! Drink it over the next 10 years." -Wine Advocate
Domaine des Baumard Winery
The Baumard family has been wine growing wine at Rochefort in the Anjou for centuries, working with the noble Chenin in what has long been accepted as its natural home, the slate-covered hillside vineyards along the Loire and Layton rivers. In 1953, the Baumard family acquired a vineyard in the Quarts de Chaume, and in 1968, purchased substantial acreage in Savennieres. Jean Baumard, an enologist and educator, as well as grower, introduced significant innovations to the winemaking region, bringing the dry wines of Savennieres, as well as his sweet wines, Quarts de Chaumes and Coteaux du Layon back to prominence. Now in retirement, further innovation has been carried on by Jean's son, Florent.
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It's unfortunate that this region is so under appreciated and overlooked - the wines from the Loire Valley are outstanding. They are delicious examples of varietal and soil expression and the wide range of wines is so refreshing. Dry, sweet, sparkling, red, white… all represented here in the Loire. The main white grapes are Chenin Blanc, Muscadet and Sauvignon Blanc. For reds, Cabernet Franc takes center stage but the region also has plantings of Pinot Noir and Gamay. The AC of Cremant de Loire is popular – these are the sparkling wines of the Loire, usually made with Chenin Blanc.
As for which grapes you find in which regions… Starting on the Atlantic Coast and moving east - Muscadet hails from the region of the same name, within the larger Nantes district, right on the Atlantic coast. The wines are dry, citrusy and pleasant, but rarely powerful or intensely aromatic. Just inland from Nantes is Anjou-Samur, home to Savennières, an excellent source of dry Chenin Blanc. To the east is Touraine, where you'll find the popular white region of Vouvray - Chenin Blanc shines in Vouvray, which can be dry, off-dry or sweet – the majority of those found in the states are a lovely and food-friendly off-dry. In the same district, Cabernet Franc makes delicious, delicate and elegant reds from Bourguil and Chinon. Finally, in the Upper Loire area, Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé turn out Sauvignon Blancs of razor sharp acidity and minerality.
About France - Other regions
When it comes to wine, France is a classic. Classic blends, grapes and styles began in the country and they still remain. Think about it - people ask for a Burgundian style Pinot Noir, they refer to wines as Bordeaux or Rhone blends - Champagne even had to pass a law to stop international wineries from putting their region on the label of all sparkling wine.
The top regions of France are: Bordeaux, Burgundy, Champagne, Languedoc-Roussillon, Loire, Rhone. And these regions are so diverse! It makes sense that wine regions throughout the world try to emulate their style. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and
Syrah are no longer French varieties, but international varieties. They may not be the leader of cutting edge technology or value-priced wines, but there is no doubt that they are still producing wines of great quality and diversity.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.