A Trio of Blancs from the Loire Valley
by Tom Wolf
If you asked Thierry Germain which he prefers making, white wine or red, his answer would probably depend on the day. You certainly can’t guess from tasting his range of wines, as he produces mesmerizing, soulful, and incredibly ambitious cuvées in both colors. For this bottling, he takes Chenin Blanc grapes from ninety-year-old vines and macerates them on their skins in large Italian amphorae for four months before aging the wine in barrel for another year. Redolent of almonds, honey, and a wide range of citrus, this kaleidoscopic Chenin finishes with a faint tannin, making it ideal alongside sushi, roast chicken, or a hard and flavorful cheese like Comté.
Most of the Sauvignon Blanc we import comes from the eastern Loire Valley—home to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé—but other stretches of the region specialize in this beloved grape variety, too. This exquisite blanc hails from nearly seventy miles to the west of Sancerre, in Cheverny, where the Delaille brothers’ vines benefit from sandy soils and a continental climate with oceanic influences. At once elegant and exuberant, this Sauvignon Blanc is the stuff apéro dreams are made of.
Given the Breton family’s reputation as bon vivants and natural wine pioneers, so much attention is paid to their wide range of red wines that we sometimes forget to include their sophisticated Vouvray in the conversation. Complex and bone-dry, this old-vine Chenin evokes grapefruit, green apple, and herbs, and chez moi it paired perfectly with grilled cod.