Only about thirty-five growers produce wine in the tiny 200-hectare appellation of Quincy, which means you don’t see much of it in the U.S. market. It’s a shame, as cheerful, unoaked wine like this one happens to be the antidote to your post-holiday blues. Grown on pink limestone and sandy soil flecked with sparkly silex, the Sauvignon Blanc of Quincy is a little more plump than its neighbors in Reuilly and Sancerre. One glass has enough sunbeams to brighten and lengthen even the shortest winter days.
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.
Every three or four months I would send my clients a cheaply made list of my inventory, but it began to dawn on me that business did not pick up afterwards. It occurred to me that my clientele might not know what Château Grillet is, either. One month in 1974 I had an especially esoteric collection of wines arriving, so I decided to put a short explanation about each wine into my price list, to try and let my clients know what to expect when they uncorked a bottle. The day after I mailed that brochure, people showed up at the shop, and that is how these little propaganda pieces for fine wine were born.—Kermit Lynch
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