As much as I love Sancerre, and Muscadet for that matter, I was visiting the Loire to taste and get to know some of the lesser known wine regions and after the obligatory tour of the impressive Angers fort (there seems to be one in every French town, non?)
I was given a back-to-basics tasting of wines from the regions we were going to visit.
In terms of diversity the Loire has something for everyone; white, red, rosé, dry, medium dry, sweet and sparkling. From big, chunky full-bodied reds for food and easy going light in style summer reds to dry as the desert, crisp white apéritif wines and rich, mellow, warming fruity whites to linger over on a winters night. The area surrounding Angers is probably best known for its Rosé d’Anjou, you may have seen it on the bottom of the supermarket shelf in the UK, it’s a cheap and cheerful, off dry pink, chill it really well and it goes nicely with fresh cherries.
For the whites we visited and got to know the region of Savennières, 30 minute drive south west of Angers. Here the wines are made from Chenin Blanc grapes ranging in style from super dry to super sweet. The dry ones would stand well in place of a Sancerre with goat’s cheese and the sweetest versions would stand up as well as any Sauternes with Roquefort or a naughty slice of Foie Gras.
Our next stop was Domaine de Bablut in a village called Brissac-Quincé where we tasted some of the regions chunky reds. Made at this family winery that dates back to the 16th century their reds were mainly produced from the aromatic Cabernet Franc grape and as the saliva was sucked from my mouth with a sip of every wine I took I can only conclude that they’re designed to go with big, meaty, serious dishes. As a grape I’m not convinced it’s at it’s best on its’ own, I look out for it and enjoy it more in red wine blends where it makes a wonderfully aromatic contribution to the flavours.