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Domaine Trotereau Quincy Vieilles Vignes 2014
Pierre Ragon of Domaine Trotereau is as much an icon of the small appellation of Quincy in the Loire Valley as the appellation itself is a historical icon for the whole of France. Quincy was the second recognized appellation in France in 1936, second only to Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Grapes had long been planted here, however, with Sauvignon Blanc having been introduced by Cistercian monks in the 12th century. Southwest of Sancerre, on the banks of a tributary of the Loire River, the Cher, the relatively small appellation of 200 hectares is located between the villages of Vierzon and Bourges. The sandy, silex-ridden topsoil with an undercurrent of pink limestone is truly unique, unlike any other Sauvignon Blanc appellation in the world, and gives a very particular wine. Sauvignon is able to ripen more fully here while retaining a very interesting aromatic profile, and the wines are capable of aging quite gracefully.
As recently as fifty years ago, the wines of Quincy were more recognized in France for their quality than Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, and commanded a higher price. Today the appellation has largely faded from recognition, and cave cooperatives have bought up a lot of the land at pennies on the dollar. Most at Quincy try to make bracing, nervy Sauvignons that recall the typical style that can be produced anywhere, and there are precious few willing or able to take the risks necessary to produce the type of wine that made Quincy famous and that only their terroir can produce. Ever since Denis Jaumier retired after bottling the 2005 vintage, we’ve been looking for a worthy successor. Pierre Ragon’s vines happen to sit right next to some of Jaumier’s old parcels, and Pierre hasn’t rushed to replant with higher yielding clones since he took over the reins in 1973 at this storied family domaine founded in 1804. He is now blessed with vines over 100 years old that are still producing exceptional fruit. With pride and excitement, we once again bring you the real deal from Quincy.
Praised for its stately Renaissance-era chateaux, the picturesque Loire valley produces pleasant wines of just about every style. Just south of Paris, the appellation lies along the river of the same name and stretches from the Atlantic coast to the center of France.
The Loire can be divided into three main growing areas, from west to east: the Lower Loire, Middle Loire, and Upper/Central Loire. The Pay Nantais region of the Lower Loire—farthest west and closest to the Atlantic—has a maritime climate and focuses on the Melon de Bourgogne variety, which makes refreshing, crisp, aromatic whites.
The Middle Loire contains Anjou, Saumur and Touraine. In Anjou, Chenin Blanc produces some of, if not the most, outstanding dry and sweet wines with a sleek, mineral edge and characteristics of crisp apple, pear and honeysuckle. Cabernet Franc dominates red and rosé production here, supported often by Grolleau and Cabernet Sauvignon. Sparkling Crémant de Loire is a specialty of Saumur. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc are common in Touraine as well, along with Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay and Malbec (known locally as Côt).
The Upper Loire, with a warm, continental climate, is Sauvignon Blanc country, home to the world-renowned appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Pinot Noir and Gamay produce bright, easy-drinking red wines here.
A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and here is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.
In the Glass
From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, often reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California produces fruity and rich oak-aged versions as well as snappy and fresh, Sauvignon blancs, which never see any oak.
The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.
Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.