WineWriting.com & French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

07 June 2012

France: Centre-Loire, Pinot rosé and red

sancerre-roblin.com 
The next in this nail-biting mini-series - see my Centre-Loire "silex" tasting - brings about a seasonal change of colour and grape variety, and highlights a handful of lesser-known wines from this part of central-northern France. Rosés from Sancerre, Menetou-Salon et al seem to have made headway in recent years gaining listings in some supermarkets even; but the reds are still fairly rare outside of France or specialist independent wine shops. The main variety behind these wines, that dear old friend Pinot Noir, only comes to about 20% of what's planted in the region; plus there's a tiny bit of Pinot Gris too in Reuilly used for rosé (thanks to the pinkish hue on its skin). I've included a lot less of the reds than I actually tasted (in London a few weeks ago), as disappointingly too many of them were a little lean on flavour and lacked charm or excitement. Which does make you question whether Pinot Noir for reds has a great future here, if it only really produces high-standard wines in particular vintages or sites? Then again, I guess they can always make nice rosé out of it every year! I've added names of UK importers or ex-cellar prices where available.

Rosé

Domaine Claude Lafond 2011 Reuilly - juicy and zesty with light yeast-lees undertones, hints of rose petal aromas although this basically tastes like a good white wine. Charles Sydney.
Domaine Cordaillat 2011 Reuilly - similar pale style, perhaps more intense on the palate with attractive lively finish. Theatre of Wines.
Domaine Cirotte 2011 Sancerre - crisp juicy leesy mouth-feel layered with subtle red fruits, long and zingy with fair extract too. Quite classy rosé. €5.60
Domaine Bernard Reverdy et Fils 2011 Sancerre - a tad redder in colour vs green fruit edges, lively juicy finish. Nice style. Goedhuis & Co.

Red

Domaine de Chatenoy 2010 Menetou-Salon - shows attractive Pinot character, quite delicate and mouth-watering with light grip and freshness vs subtle underlying red fruit. Good. Enotria Cellars.
Domaine Pellé Morogues 2010, Menetou-Salon - a touch 'reduced' on the nose, moving on to a fairly concentrated palate with subtle savoury cherry fruit, refreshing bite on the finish; lacks a little charm maybe but nice enough.
Domaine Teiller 2010, Menetou-Salon - juicy delicate red with light 'sweet/savoury' profile, not bad Pinot style although perhaps too subtle for its own good!? Yapp Brothers.
Gérard Millet 2011, Sancerre - a bit fuller in the mouth vs tangy 'sweet/savoury' flavours, lively finish with elegant fruit too. Good.
Domaine Matthias et Emile Roblin 2010, Sancerre - aromatic floral cherry with truffle notes even, quite concentrated yet refreshing, juicy and elegant length. Easily my favourite in this line-up: very good. €6.70 ex-cellar.
Daniel Chotard 2010, Sancerre - hints of 'sweet/savoury' Pinot character, shows fair concentration vs tight and delicate; finishes a touch lean perhaps although still quite good. Richards Walford.
Domaine André Vatan 2010, Sancerre - understated 'sweet/savoury' vs violet notes, attractive dry texture vs ripe red fruits vs fresh bite too. Pretty good. Yapp Brothers.
Domaine Philippe Raimbault 2009, Sancerre - hints of maturing 'sweet/savoury' style, it's a little over-extracted but has enticing perfumed fruit finish too. MH Wines, Bijou Bottles, Griffinwell.


There's a Sancerre vertical tasting HERE (2005 to 1996)...

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