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 Valley 2023 – Day 1

23 Jan 2024

(April 26, 2023) … First day, first tasting … this is a look at the wines we were first introduced to, described as a “Tasting Of Medal-Winning Wines From The Loire Valley Wine Competition”.

I have broken this list down into Red, White and Bubbles (Rosé would have appeared in my Rosé Report 2023).


Caves Du Pere Auguste 2022 Sauvignon (Touraine) - Better
Domaine De La Potadiere 2022 (Val De Loire Chardonnay) - Good
Domaine De La Renaudie 2022 Domaine De La Renaudie Touraine Sauvignon 2022 (Touraine) - Good
Domaine Des Raynieres 2022 (Saumur Blanc) - Good
Domaine Moulin De Serjeux - Landais Vinvent 2022 Domaine De L'aulnaye (Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie) - Better Loire White Wine
Earl Barre Vincent 2022 Chemin Du Chatelet (Muscadet Sevre Et Maine Sur Lie) - Better
Earl Bodineau Philippe 2022 Les Chaboissieres (Val De Loire Chardonnay) - Good
Earl Bonnin Sophie Et Jean-Christian 2022 Blanc (Anjou) - Better
Earl Domaine Des Matines 2022 Le Clos Riel (Saumur Blanc) - Better
Earl Guy Mardon 2022 Domaine Pre Baron (Touraine) - Better
Earl Pieaux Jean-Michel Et Bruno 2022 Domaine Du Margalleau (Vouvray Sec) - Good
M. Herve Vincent 2022 Domaine De Loriere (Val De Loire Pinot Gris) - Good
Sas Domaine De Flines 2022 Domaine De Flines (Val De Loire Chardonnay) - Good
Sas Lacheteau 2022 Lacheteau (Haut Poitou) - Good
Sas Lacheteau 2022 Lacheteau (Touraine) - Good
Scea Chateau De Valmer 2020 Château De Valmer - Vouvray Sec 2020 (Vouvray Sec) – Good
Scev Du Petit Clocher 2021 Cru Montchenin - Les Audacieuses (Anjou) - Better


Baudry & Dutour 2021 Domaine Du Roncée Vieilles Vignes (Chinon Rouge) - Better
Domaine De La Rochette 2022 - (Touraine Gamay) - Good
Domaine Des Souterrains 2022 Chevalier Du Saint Esprit (Touraine) - Better
Loire Red WineDomaine Dittière 2020 Clos De La Grouas (Anjou Villages Brissac) - Good
Domaine Du Colombier 2022 (Val De Loire Gamay Noir Rouge) - Better
Domaine Sauvete 2022 Les Gravouilles (Touraine Gamay) - Good
Earl Domaine Des Matines 2022 Domaine Des Matines (Saumur) - Good
Earl Domaine Du Puy Rigault 2022 Domaine Du Puy Rigault (Chinon Rouge) - Good
Earl Morin Herve 2021 Elegance (St Nicolas De Bourgueil) - Better
La Seigneurerie 2022 Senonien (Saumur Champigny) - Better
Robert & Marcel 2020 Heritage (Saumur Puy Notre Dame) - Better
Scea Domaine Charles Pain 2020 La Haute Borne (Chinon Rouge) - Better
Scea Neau - Domaine De Nerleux  2020 Les Loups Noirs (Saumur Champigny) – Good


Domaine De La Gachere 2021 Gaec Lemoine (Cremant De Loire Brut) - Good
Domaine De L'été 2020 Scea Catherine Nolot (Cremant De Loire Brut) - Good
Patrimoine De Loire - Orchidées Maison De Vins (Cremant De Loire Brut) – Better


All Rosés that were good were in my Rose Report – you can see that here.


Day Two of Tastings - Montefalco 2023

07 Jan 2024

(April 2023) … Once again, kudos to the PR company Miriade & Partners who make Day 2 even more interesting than Day 1. Using an app you pre-select the wineries you wish to visit and they shuttle journalists to their selected venues at pre-determined times. Ingenious. Sometimes you are the only journalist at your selected venue; other times you find yourself in a group. This is the way gems are discovered. Instead of being forced into going to the same-old wineries that only interest a handful in your party. I checked out a couple of fresh places (to me) and a couple of old favourites. I wish other regions did this type of visit “schedule” and if you are interested in knowing how, I have a PR agency for you to contact.

Today my chosen wineries were Le Thadee, Tenuta Saragano (gem), Luca di Tomaso (gem) and Scacciadiavoli
– those without the term “gem” beside their name I’ve visited before and I already knew they were, that’s why I went back.

Le Thadiee 2018 Carlo Re Le Thadee
Amphora fermented, then spends two-and-a-half years in tonneau. Black fruit dominated nose with a palate that is dusty and dense - this is also a wine that needs some time, but I have faith the fruit will appear - the nose is too good for it not to. I’m judging it on the now, not its future potential.  (*** ½+)    

Le Thadee 2019 Pio IX    
Coffee and leather on the nose - interestingly dry on the palate, but also fighting with the sugars and sweetness.  (*** ½)    


Tenuta Saragano 2017 Rosso
(Sangiovese 60% / Merlot 25% / Sagrantino 15%)
Winemaking/winery goes back 32 generations. They have the highest elevation vineyards of the region (500m), which would have been foolhardy for 30 of those 32 previous generations. But now they look like geniuses. Proving that genius takes time to be recognized. Some of their Sagrantino vines are 50+ year of age, and this wine spends 18 months in oak … Nice fruit on the palate with smoky and gritty note to be found. Needs more time as this is fairly rustic in nature.  (*** ½)

Tenuta Saragano 2017 Riserva    Saragano Boys
(Sangiovese 60% / 20% each Merlot - Sagrantino)
2 years in oak: smoky, mocha, black cherry, blackberry, cassis, black plum ... there's a juiciness in the mouth mid-palate, and a nice hit of tannins. Opens smooth and silky, but still with that tannic bite. On of, if not the best, Riserva tasted through the week (video to come).  (****+)    

Tenuta Saragano 2016 Montefalco Sagrantino
Black fruit, smoky, oaky and chewy - but there’s that lovely fruit up front before the tannins take over and the palate becomes dry and a bit leathery.  (****+)    

Saragano WinesTenuta Saragano 2007 Montefalco Sagrantino    
(Sangrantino) – older wine
Soft and smooth with coffee, mocha leather and smoky notes lingering about. Great acidity and tannins still hang on.  YES - drink up now.    

Tenuta Saragano NV (2019) Umbria Rosso    
(Sangiovese / Merlot)
Nice fruit forward wine, with cherry, wild blueberry and backed by a smoky nuance.  (*** ½+)    

Luca di Tomaso 2019 Rosso
(Sangiovese / Cabernet Sauvignon / Sagrantino)
Luca started winery when he was 23 – he is now 30 - he moved from Milan, where he worked in his family restaurant, to start the project. Dark fruit, really supple, subtle spice and a lovely mouth feel - this is going places and I want to follow.  (****+)    

Luca di Tomaso 2018 Rosso
(Sangiovese / Cabernet Sauvignon / Sagrantino)
More astringent, acidity is more prominent, plus dark fruit; still needs a few years to emerge.  (*** ½+)    

Luca di Tomaso 2017 Rosso Tomasi
(Sangiovese / Cabernet Sauvignon / Sagrantino)
Hot season with an early frost … aggressive tannins, plus dark fruit, leather, smoky, and even some sweet/tart fruit-leather notes all introduced by a nice perfume.  (*** ½)

Luca di Tomaso 2016 Rosso
(Sangiovese / Cabernet Sauvignon / Sagrantino)
Floral and smoky, tannins seem less aggressive and drinks well, all with a touch a herbaceousness.  (*** ½)    

Luca di Tomaso 2016 Sagrantino
Aggressive tannins, but the front palate has some lovely red and black fruit all held together by good acidity - needs time, but it has the stuffing to go places.  (*** ½+)    

Scaccia RoseScacciadiavoli NV Brut    
(85% Sagrantino / 15% Chardonnay)
36 months on lees in the traditional method - lovely freshness and crispness, apple, peach, nice minerality; still one of the best bubbles in the area.  (****)    

Scacciadiavoli NV Brut Rose
24 months on lees in the traditional method - a little oxidized and strange - lacks that pretty freshness showcased on the Brut.  (***+)    

Scacciadiavoli 2021 Spoleto    
(Trebianno Spoletino)
Bright and fresh - but with a little oxidation on the back end, that detracts a little from the finish.  (*** ½)    

Scacciadiavoli 2021 Montefalco Rosso    
(60% Sangiovese / 25% Merlot / 15% Sagrantino)
Nice red berry fruit, a little blackberry slides through on the mid-palate, and there’s a little spice, backed with good acidity.  (****)    

Scacciadiavoli 2019 Montefalco Sagrantino
Spicy wood character, but the mid-palate has a juicy-spiciness, along with some raspberry and cherry notes. It is very well-balanced.  (****+)    

Scacciadiavoli 2019 Passito
Black cherry, with a hint of tobacco; these wines never come across as sweet and cloying.  (****)   


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