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Buon Vino in the Loire Valley

I have recently returned from an inspiring trip to the Loire for two wine tasting events, the Renaissance and Dive Bouteille, the second of which took place in the underground cellars of the stunning 15th century Chateau de Breze.  Both tastings were a celebration of the best biodynamic growers in France, Renaissance being the tasting started by Nicolas Joly the Godfather of biodynamic wine in the Loire with his mythical vineyard La Coulee de Serrant.  I was fortunate enough to visit his vineyard on a cold and rain soaked day and listened to Nicolas explain his philosophy and fears for the future of agriculture first hand.

Monsieur Joly firmly believes in the natural rhythms of the land and is very concerned that man’s intervention is having an adverse affect on the climate and the delicate balance of nature’s cycles.  He talked of how he believes technology is interfering with the sun’s energy, ‘how can we expect the sun’s energy to get through to the land when we pollute the sky with radio waves and satellites?’  He may sound a bit whacky at first but Nicolas is a serious and highly intelligent man and over the years his studies into natural viticulture and the effect he has seen on his land have led him to damning conclusions.  The Loire River now floods like never before (I witnessed what looked like a large land lock while I was there) and his vineyard is more and more plagued with diseases and problems which he never had in the past.  He said he saw for the first time vines not willing to flower and produce fruit for no reason that he can deduce.

What is certain is that the wines being produced biodynamically offer the consumer the purest, healthiest and most flavoursome expression of the land the wonderful fruit it can produce.  These wines deserve our attention and the people who make them deserve to be heard when they talk about the future of wine production.

Below is a list of the new wines and producers I visited and tasted.  These are all sublime wines which really do inspire emotions when you drink them.  Wine is not about booze, booze is a pleasant and desirable side effect, but wine is something more.  Wine is a connection to the land, its natural flavours and complexities flow through our taste buds, inspire our imagination and then touch our soul.

If big production Chilean Merlot is the freeze dried instant coffee of the wine World then these biodynamic wines are the purest Italian espresso sipped from a tiny cup on a simple Piazza in the Sicilian hinterland.

Nicolas Joly

  1. Savenierres Vieux Clos 2009 (Buy on-line)
  2. Savenierres Coulee de Serrant 2009
  3. Savenierres Coulee de Serrant 2010 (Buy on-line)

Julien Courtois

  1. Originel 2010 (Buy on-line)
  2. Autocthone 2010 (Buy on-line)
  3. Element-Terre 2010 (Buy on-line)
  4. Ancestral 2010 (Buy on-line)

Les Vins Esmereldins

  1. Genese 2000

Domaine de Veilloux

  1. Cremant de Loire NV (Buy on-line)
  2. Cheverny 2010
  3. Cheverny Les Veilleurs 2009 (Buy on-line)

Domaine de La Tournelle

  1. Terre de Gryphees 2010 (Buy on-line)
  2. Les Courvees Sous Curons (2009 Buy Online)
  3. Uva Arboisian 2011 (Buy on-line)

Les Vignes Herbel

  1.  La Pointe 2009

Chateau Le Puy

  1. Marie Cecile 2011 (Buy on Line)
  2. Chateau le Puy 2009
  3. Chateau Le Puy Barthelemy 2008

Le Casot de Mailloles

  1. Tir a Blanc 2010
  2. Canta Manana 2011
  3. Soula 2009

Olivier Riviere

  1. Rayos Uva 2010
  2. Gabacho 2010
  3. Arlanza Vina del Cadastro 2010

Domaine de Coulee

  1. Cotes du Rhone Petit Ours Brun 2011

Ludovic Engelvin

  1. Espontaneo 2011

Domaine Causses Marines

  1. Gaillac Peyrouzelles 2009/11
  2. Gaillac Blanc Les Greilles 2010
  3. Gaillac Grain de Folie Douce 2010

Chateau La Coste

  1. Rose d’Une Nuit 2011
  2. Bellugue2011
  3. Pentes Douces 2010

Domaine de Souche

  1. Jurancon 2010

Familia Cecchin

  1. Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
  2. Malbec Sin Sulfiti 2009
  3. Carignan 2009(Buy on-line)