Marquis de la Tour Brut
Blend: Ugni Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay
One of the best known names in fine Loire Valley sparkling wines is Marquis de la Tour from Rémy Pannier. Rémy Pannier, which has been identified with premium quality Loire Valley wines since 1885, is the Loire Valley's single largest wine producer, with markets in over 40 countries worldwide.
Approximately one third of production at Rémy Pannier is devoted to the internationally popular Marquis de la Tour, an dry, youthful and appealing sparkling wine blend comprising 50% Chenin Blanc, 25% Sauvignon Blanc and 25% Chardonnay grapes, all grown exclusively in the vineyards of the Loire Valley. Each variety is fermented independently in stainless steel. The individual wines are then tasted and blended to achieve a desired consistency of style. The resulting blend is fermented a second time, with the addition of selected yeasts and sugar, after which it rests under pressure on the lees for six months before bottling and release.
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 term typically reserved for Champagne and Sparkling Wines, non-vintage or simply “NV” on a label indicates a blend of finished wines from different vintages (years of harvest). To make non-vintage Champagne, typically the current year’s harvest (in other words, the current vintage) forms the base of the blend. Finished wines from previous years, called “vins de reserve” are blended in at approximately 10-50% of the total volume in order to achieve the flavor, complexity, body and acidity for the desired house style. A tiny proportion of Champagnes are made from a single vintage.
There are also some very large production still wines that may not claim one particular vintage. This would be at the discretion of the winemaker’s goals for character of the final wine.