An hour west of Sancerre, Quincy is another Loire Valley appellation specializing in Sauvignon Blanc that is overshadowed by its more famous neighbor. It wasn’t always this way, though. Half a century ago, the wines of Quincy—France’s second recognized appellation after Châteauneuf-du-Pape—were more coveted and expensive than those of Sancerre. Today, not much of note comes out of Quincy, with Trotereau’s wines being outstanding exceptions. The soil here is sandier than it is in Sancerre and Reuilly, which allows the grapes to ripen sooner, making wines that are warmer in character and more medium-bodied than their neighbors. This generous 2017 Quincy evokes notes of lychee and tangerine and is perfect as a summertime sipper or alongside your favorite salad or goat cheese.
As recently as 50 years ago, the wines of Quincy were more recognized in France for their quality than Sancerre or Pouilly-Fumé, and commanded a higher price. Today the appellation has largely faded from recognition, with cave cooperatives buying up land at pennies on the dollar. Most make bracing, nervy Sauvignons in a typical style that can be produced anywhere. There are precious few willing to take risks to craft the type of wine that made Quincy famous. Pierre Ragon of Domaine Trotereau has been making wines only their terroir can produce since he took the reins in 1973. He is blessed with vines over 100 years old that are still producing exceptional fruit. With pride and excitement, we bring you the real deal from Quincy.
The defining feature of the Loire Valley, not surprisingly, is the Loire River. As the longest river in France, spanning more than 600 miles, this river connects seemingly disparate wine regions. Why else would Sancerre, with its Kimmeridgian limestone terroir be connected to Muscadet, an appellation that is 250 miles away?
Secondary in relevance to the historical, climatic, environmental, and cultural importance of the river are the wines and châteaux of the Jardin de la France. The kings and nobility of France built many hundreds of châteaux in the Loire but wine preceded the arrival of the noblesse and has since out-lived them as well.
Diversity abounds in the Loire. The aforementioned Kimmderidgian limestone of Sancerre is also found in Chablis. Chinon, Bourgueil, and Saumur boast the presence of tuffeau, a type of limestone unique to the Loire that has a yellowish tinge and a chalky texture. Savennières has schist, while Muscadet has volcanic, granite, and serpentinite based soils. In addition to geologic diversity, many, grape varieties are grown there too: Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne are most prevalent, but (to name a few) Pinot Gris, Grolleau, Pinot Noir, Pineau d’Aunis, and Folle Blanche are also planted. These myriad of viticultural influences leads to the high quality production of every type of wine: red, white, rosé, sparkling, and dessert.
Like the Rhône and Provence, some of Kermit’s first imports came from the Loire, most notably the wines of Charles Joguet and Château d’Epiré—two producers who are featured in Kermit’s book Adventures on the Wine Route and with whom we still work today.
Trust the great winemakers, trust the great vineyards. Your wine merchant might even be trustworthy. In the long run, that vintage strip may be the least important guide to quality on your bottle of wine.—Kermit Lynch
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