Cooler Than Me

18th February

and it sure was…….

Just as Julia hits the UK shores with her suntan from Central Otago, two more Vintner buyers (Tom & Michael Gilbey) board the Eurostar for the short hop to Angers to sniff out the stars of the 2010 vintage in the Loire.  No sun tan to be got here, that’s for sure.  Pulling out of a very dark St. Pancras at 6.20am on a Monday morning, first light was in France where we were greeted with snow, ice and, on opening the door of the train in Paris en route, bitterly cold conditions.  We smile – GREAT FOR THE VINES!!

Two crazy days running around the ‘salle du degustation’ in Angers brought more smiles to our faces.  2010 is a wonderful vintage for many of the regions and particularly for the white wines.  They’re screaming with fresh, crisp acidity with amazing levels of pungent, ripe fruit, particularly in the Sauvignons.  With a change in vintage, our mission was to ensure that we’re still buying the best from this rich and diverse region and perhaps to find just one or two gems that might add to our Loire offering.

Franck and Aurelian Bailly Reverdy were our last stop on the Sancerre leg and up against stiff competition against the 10 or so that had really stood out so far.  Wow what a wonderful wine their 2010 is and what a couple of dynamic, talented and truly dedicated winemakers they are.  The white is such a beautifully crafted, elegant yet vibrant and complete Sancerre showing minerality, purity and texture beyond any of the contenders that had gone before.  Two pallets of that are being loaded today to arrive in the Vintner warehouse next week!

Aurelian (left) & Franck (right) warming up a V cold Vintner

Next significant stop was the team from Comte Jean Marechal where again we found a range of wines that stood head and shoulders above the rest in the Pouilly Fume and Menetou room.  Keep your eyes peeled for a Coteaux du Giennois Sauvignon Blanc that’ll be coming to play soon – a belting Sauvignon

that completely took our breath away with it’s intensity and purity.  So direct you could slice a ham with it.  Excellent too were both their Pouilly Fume and Menetou Salon 2010.  When asked why their Menetou was at least a Euro more than anybody else’s in the room Frederic shrugged, casually lifted two fingers and replied .. ,’coz itss zi best.’  ’Fair enough,’ I replied.

So we return with some great Sauvignon based wines from the Eastern Loire but the reds and roses are looking good too.  Exactly which of these wines we’ll be featuring we can’t be sure yet but the real excitement that we’re definitely sure about is a stunning new Vouvray Sec made by Christophe Boutet.  Oh how we love this wine and it’s just what we’d been looking for since March of last year.  Crisp, energetic, pure, refreshing and interesting, this will provide another dimension to the flavour profile of our 100 wines.

Captain Christophe Vouvray

Taste, taste, taste is what we’re all about; buy a little bit but only the very best.  Quite where the other UK buyers were we’re not sure – we saw only two.  If you’re not on the pitch, you can’t score a goal is the Vintner moto and we think we ended up about 4-0 …. and very cold!

Vouvray Sec, 2010

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