On the Road with the Grape Guy

On the Road with the Grape Guy is a on-going feature that follows me from event to event ... I post my thoughts, feelings and reviews of what happened and what I tasted ... basically it is here that I review the events I attend and the things that thrilled me.

Loire Wines: Touraine - Saumur-Champigny - Sparkling

19 Jan 2023

(April 28, 2022) … Two thematic tastings under one roof with a look at Touraine and Saumur wines.

Some quick facts about Touraine
-    5000 hectares stretch out both sides of the Cher and Loire rivers
-    Encompasses 139 towns
-    500 winemakers
-    Making 28,000,000 bottles annually
-    59% white wines – 22% red wines – 8% rosé – 11% sparkling
-    Top white varieties: Sauvignon Blanc 43%, followed by Chenin (7%) and Chardonnay (3%)
-    Top red varieties: Gamay 21%, followed by Cabernet Franc (10%) and Cot (Malbec 8%)
-    Only 20% of the wine is exported; and while 80% remains in France – 50% are direct sales to the consumer
-    Top export markets are the UK (36%), USA (21%), Netherlands (16%), Belgium (7%) and Canada (5%)
-     Touraine has 5 geographical denominations:
      -Amboise / -Azay-le-Rideau / -Chenonceaux / -Mesland et -Oisly

And now, here are the wines from both tastings …
(because of the quantity of wines on offer during this tasting I used my Good / Good+ approach for scoring, I also where available, list the varieties that make up the wine – and a few of the really good(+) ones  even got some notes)

Maison Laudacius Jardin Des Rois Fb Rosé ... Good
40% Cabernet Franc, 5% Grolleau, 40% Gamay, 15% Pinot Noir

Domaine Mérieau 2018 J'ose Les Fines Bulles - Blanc ... Good
60% Menu Pineau, 10% Chenin, 30% Chardonnay

Domaine De La Renaudie 2021 Touraine Sauvignon - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon        

Domaine Jacky Marteau 2021 Touraine Sauvignon – Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon        

Domaine Chainier 2021 Château De La Roche - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

Domaine Des Echardières 2021 Touraine Sauvignon - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

Domaine Pascal Gibault 2021 Touraine Sauvignon - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

Le SauvignonChâteau De Fontenay 2021 Le Sauvignon - Blanc     
100% Sauvignon - Guava and grapefruit with a supple palate and long finish ... Good+

Vins Beaujardin 2021 Moulin Des Aigremonts - Blanc ... Good
100% Sauvignon

RousselyClos Roussely 2020 Le Clos - Blanc
100% Sauvignon - Floral and yellow grapefruit cocktail ... Good+

Domaine Sauvète 2021 Méli Mélo - Rosé ... Good
50% Pineau D'aunis, 50% Cabernet Franc        

Domaine Sauvète 2020 Les Gravouilles - Rouge ... Good
100% Gamay

Domaine De Fontenay 2019 La Réserve De Jean - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc, Côt


White Saumur and Saumur Puy-Notre-Dame: Two Facets of Saumur Wines  

Domaine Des Garennes 2020 Empreinte - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Du Moulin De L’horizon 2020 Mélodie - Blanc ... Good+ L'horizon
Chenin 100%

Château De Targé 2019 Les Fresnettes - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Arnaud Lambert 2018 Coulée De Saint Cyr - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Arnaud Lambert 2018 Clos De La Rue - Blanc ... Good
Chenin 100%

Domaine Du Vieux Pressoir 2019 Origine - Rouge Origine
Cabernet Franc 100% - Structured and smoky, with earthy, black cherry, subtle woodsy notes, and mild flavour of coffee powder on the finish ... Good+

Domaine Saint Landor 2019 L'Obligé - Rouge
Cabernet Franc 100% - Fruit forward with lots of red berries: strawberry, raspberry, and hints of mocha - silky mouthfeel with an elegant finish ... Good+ L'Oblige

Domaine Du Moulin De L’horizon 2019 Virtuose - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Mélaric 2018 Clos De La Cerisaie - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Manoir De Tête Rouge 2018 Enchentoir - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Domaine De L'enchantoir 2018 Pied À L'etrier - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Domaine De L'enchantoir 2017 Clos Du Petit Chavannes - Rouge ... Good
Cabernet Franc 100%

Immersion: Saumur-Champigny Saumur Champigny

Another walking tour … this time it’s a partial walk along the VVR Route (Vignes Vins Randos) as we check out some of the vineyards around Saumur and taste a number of wines at stops along the way. We find a wine producer who has built their prodcution area right in the rocks; and here is where I also taste one of the best Cabernet Franc’s I taste throughout the whole trip – hint: it has something to do with wolves.

Langlois-Chateau 2020 Domaine
Fruit driven due to the stainless steel, along with subtle herbal characteristics(*** ½)

Château De Chaintres 2020 Vieilles Vignes
Gentle spice and black fruit; notes of vanilla, black cherry and black raspberry on the mid-palate - complex and tasty.  (****)

BressiereDomaine De La Bessiere 2018 XL
Light, fresh, and easy drinking: big red fruit with a medium-light spiciness.  (*** ½)

Alliance Loire - Robert & Marcel 2019 Les Vignoles
VignolesSmooth and silky; blackberry and cassis, along with subtle pepper and round tannins which prove to be non-aggressive on the finish.  (*** ½+)

Domaine De La Perruche 2020 Terroir de Craie
PerrucheSteel tanks were used in the making of this wine - fresh dark fruit oriented, nice complexity.  (*** ½+)

Domaine De Rocheville 2019 Le Prince
Herbal and red cherry; a nice expression.  (*** ½)

NerleuxDomaine De Nerleux 2018 Les Loups Noirs
Vines planted back in 1997, 70% of the wine spends 18 months in oak, 10% new, the other 30% remains in stainless steel and is then back-blended into the wine to create a fruitier character; the result is a wine of wonderful depth and character: dark berry fruit, nicely spiced with hints of vanilla. The dark fruit comes across as cassis and blackberry – this wine just sings in the mouth.  (**** ½)

Gatien Deze 2020 Les 2 Vents
Light and airy with gentle herbaceousness, done all in stainless - pretty floral notes on both the nose and palate.  (*** ½+)

Château De Targé 2020 Le Clos Saint Pere
Light and fresh - with a chill this would give rosé a run for its money: cherry and decent acidity; chill and enjoy.  (*** ½+)

Domaine Ratron - Clos Des Cordeliers 2018 Cuvee Prestige
Mineral, blackberry and black cherry, pleasant across the palate.  (*** ½+)

Château De Villeneuve 2020 Domaine
Light with red berry freshness, plus it had some black cherry and black raspberry backing it up on the finish.  (*** ½+)

La Seigneurie 2018 Vielles Vignes a Pierrot
Vines were planted in 1963 at 110m ASL, highest level in the region, and less than 1 km from Castle Saumur: plenty of cassis and blackberry.  (*** ½+)

Sparkling Wine Evening
A walk around tasting of sparkling wine; dinner was al fresco in the backyard of the winery / event space; and ended with a fireworks display: bubbles, “BBQ” and big bangs – what more could you ask for.

Here I used my Good / Good+ system to rate the wines; and in some instances the make up of the cuvee was provided (so I included that as well):

Orchidees Ackerman (Brut) ... Good
Orchidees Royal 2017 (Brut) ... Good+ Royal
Loire Propriete Dunmacus Vignerons (Brut Rose) ... Good    
Loire Propriete Dunmacus Vignerons (Brut) ... Good
Grenelle 2013 3/7.7.4 (Brut Nature) ... Good
cuvee: Pinot Noir, Pineau D'aunis, Cabernet Franc
Alliance Loire De Chanceny Rose (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Alliance Loire 2015 De Chanceny Impetus (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Chanceny Alliance Loire 2015 De Chanceny (Brut Nature) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Langlois Langlois Blanc (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Langlois Langlois Rose (Brut) ... Good+ Langlois
cuvee: Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir
Langlois 2016 Quadrille (Extra Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc
Bouvet Ladubay 2018 Tresor (Brut) ... Good+
cuvee: Chenin, Chardonnay
Bouvet Ladubay Excellence Rose (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Lacheteau Lacheteau Tete De Cuvee (Brut) ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Lacheteau Château De Montgueret ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay
Lacheteau Château De Chanteloup ... Good
cuvee: Chenin, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay
Lacheteau Château De Chanteloup Rosé ... Good
cuvee: Cabernet Franc
Gratien Meyer Flamme Rosé ... Good    
Gratien Meyer Diadème Rosé ... Good



Time to Talk Trasimeno

16 Jan 2023

The view of the water(May 2022) ... I was invited to Trasimeno, as part of a larger Umbrian tour that started with Sagrantino ... The draw for me here was a grape called Trasimeno Gamay; I thought: "Gamay? in Italy? ... This might be very interesting" ... It was, but not at all what I expected

Trasimeno DOC is a place on the water by Lake Trasimeno, which is from where the region takes its name - we spent a good part of our first day there on the water taking in the sights and sounds of the lake - and getting a vineyartd tourBoating Brothers by water. It is a small appellation with only 15 members in the consortium - the notable parts of the land are the hilly slopes that gently descend towards the lake. The DOC is in the province of Perugia and, as with much of Italy, has a long history of grape growing and wine making. The DOC includes six municipalities and parts of four others.

Trasemino LogoThe original consortium started in 1997, but in 2017 they had a renewal of their name and their logo, let’s call it a “re-branding” – changing to Trasimeno Consorzio Tutela Vini and the new logo represented more of the true identity of the region: the blue in the centre represents the lake, surrounded by green, to represent the hillsides. As with any consortium, there is a mission, that it must fulfill for itself and its members, in Trasimeno it's all about the Trasimeno Gamay.

This variety comes to the area in the 16th century, during the time when the Spanish dominated Central and Southern Italy. Being that the Gamay we think about from Beaujolais does not have roots in Spain, you can start to believe that maybe this is not traditional Gamay, and you would be correct. In truth, this gamay a is part of the Grenache family and is more closely tied to the Sardinian Cannouau, Lugurian Granaccia, and Tai Rosso (from the Berici Hills) then it is traditional Beaujolais-ian Gamay. The grape comes by its name honestly though (and totally by accident), it is a cultivated using a French technique, and because it is bush vine train, like Beaujolais grapes, it had been deemed to be Gamay many years ago.

White Trasimeno winesThe area has three major grapes, the red is Sangiovese and the aforementioned Trasimeno Gamay, for white wine production, Grechetto is the main player. And while Grechetto is used primarily for white and Sangiovese primarily for red, the Trasimeno Gamay grape can be found in all manners and styles: red and rosé, still and sparkling – so far there was no mention as to if anyone has tried to make it white.

The Data ...

15 wineries in the consortium
The consortium represents close to 90% of the total 270 hectares
Between 2016 and 2020, the average annual production was 13,000 quintals*
Wine wise that number is 7600 quintals*
The consortium has certified 990,000 bottles in the last 3 years


Breaking down the bottles ...

DOC. Trasimeno Rosso 100,000 bottles
DOC. Trasimeno Rosso riserva 10,000 bottles
DOC. Trasimeno Gamay (at least 85%) 15,500 bottles
DOC. Trasimeno Gamay reserva (at least 85%) 8,800 bottles
DOC. Trasimeno Grechetto 40,000 bottles
DOC Trasimeno Vin Santo 10,000 bottles

* A quintal is a unit of measure equal to 100kg


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