April in Anjou
As the welcome warmth of Spring helps to shed the grey blanket of Winter, and the world’s rich kaleidoscopic colour palette is restored, there is never a more perfect time of year to dive into the Loire and pay a visit to the garden of France.
As those of you who have been with us for some time will know, alongside the Rhône, the Loire Valley is one of our most treasured regions, having inspired many decades of exploration. After all, for over 600 miles, the Loire River sweeps across central France with its countless tributaries snaking out like veins through gorgeous and varied landscapes. The sheer diversity and scale of the region makes it perfect for vinous exploration and the perfect playground for scores of ambitious and passionate winemakers to experiment and find their voice.
With today’s ‘April in Anjou’ mixed case, we would like to showcase some of our favourite winemakers from one of our most beloved sub regions of the Loire. After many years, and many thousands of miles spent toing and froing across ‘le Jardin de France’, one area that consistently captivates, and one we always return to, is Anjou. Although regions like Sancerre may be more widely recognised, the variety and quality found in the undulating hills north and south of the town of Angers, is simply astounding. A visit here never fails to tantalise our taste buds and leave us gleefully giddy.
As we transition into the longer, sunnier and more vibrant days of Spring, this mixed case has a little bit of everything you need. From the world famous zesty, steely and mineral whites of Savennieres, to the more exotic, stone fruit driven and vibrant Chenin’s of Anjou; to beautifully expressive, energetic and ripe Cabernet Franc and finishing off with a few surprises to boot.
As the flowers begin to blossom on the vines, the amphitheatres of rolling vineyards around the ancient town on Angers come alive. The result is some of the most elegantly breath-taking scenery in all of France, and lucky for us, they also produce some of the most elegantly breath-taking wines to match.
Our ’April in Anjou’ Mixed Case is a special offer six-bottle mixed case containing 1x each of the following wines:
2018 Magnolias - Chateau de la Roulerie - £24.15
2018 PHI - Chateau de la Roulerie - £24.50
2017 L’Echappée Belle Blanc - Loïc Mahé - £21.50
2017 L’Echappée Belle Rouge - Loïc Mahé - £21.50
2018 Savennieres ‘Le Parc’ - Chateau D’Epiré - £21.85
2016 Savennieres Cuvée Speciale - Chateau D’Epiré - £21.65
Normal Retail Price - £135.15
There are only 2 spaces remaining for our ‘Meet the Winemaker’ tasting evening on the 12th of May! Make sure to grab them before they are all gone on the link HERE. We can’t wait to see you all there, welcome Mattia Bianchini from Vini Grillo Iole and to taste through some of their wonderful range!
If you would like to find out more about the individual cuvées that make up this mixed case, continue reading…
This stunning Chenin is one of Philippe Germain’s two fabulous single vineyard cuvées, from a small 2-hectare plot. With a fabulous intensity and delicious peach and nectarine fruit profile, with warming hints of ginger, combined with an elegant mineral character from the terroir and fine acidity. This is a stunning and more serious Chenin than the P’tit. Rounded with a subtle salty note on a long, clean and gourmet finish, this would go well alongside many dishes – fish, poultry, a variety of cheeses and the perfect partner to pork too.
Keeping the sulphur levels to a minimum, Philippe Germain has taken a very natural approach to this cuvée, wanting to show what can be achieved with Cabernet Franc in Anjou. The result is a deliciously ripe, complex and deep red wine, full of life, energy and vibrance. There is a good amount of power under the hood for a medium bodied wine, with ample spiciness and even some earthiness. However, the fruit is the real star of this cuvée, with blackberry and mulberry fruits singing and erupting on the palate. Pure and dense, the fruit and succulent tannins are perfectly balanced by the classic Loire minerality and mouth-watering acidity. Completely enjoyable alone, this would be an excellent wine to serve with aged cheese, rustic stews, or even grilled burgers.
In 2017, Loic produced this unique and exciting wine, made from Chenin Blanc from vineyards south of the Loire and blended with Pinot Gris grapes from his friend in Alsace, Philippe Brand. Philippe shares the same organic principles of viticulture as Loïc, but is also biodynamic. There is great depth to the pale gold colour in the glass and a very aromatic bouquet. The aromas are slightly oxidative, but very enticing with orchard fruits, pears and quince combined with a mouth-watering, saline minerality. The palate has the same intensity and depth as you’d expect after the nose, with lovely clean pear fruits and the same saline mineral notes again. The balancing acidity adds a real vibrance to the wine and the palate is full of life and energy. The palate continues to evolve and reveal more delightful layers with time in the glass. Everything is perfectly balanced and in tune and the length is fantastic. The Chenin and Pinot Gris prove a great partnership here and will pair superbly with seafood, poultry and vegetable dishes. A serious, classy wine, offering a refreshingly different expression from each individual varietal.
As with the 2017 L'Echappée Belle Blanc, Loïc ventured outside the appellation to produce this refined red wine. Here Loïc has blended Cabernet Franc from vineyards south of the Loire, with Merlot and Malbec grapes from his vigneron friends: Bruno and Christine Duhamel, who share his same organic philosophy and dedication to quality, in Bordeaux. Again, the unexpected blend marries beautifully, offering lovely pure blackberry fruits, with secondary aromas of subtle spice, cedar, mineral and bramble fruits. The addition of the Merlot and Malbec really add a subtle depth and roundness to the palate, giving it a very different feel to classic Loire Cabernet Franc reds. The balance is truly harmonious and the tannins are fine and seamlessly integrated. There is surprising sophistication here, gorgeous purity and ample amounts of charm. Both the red and the white are unusual blends perhaps, certainly something very different, however, the results are utterly delicious!
The ‘Le Parc’, formerly known simply as ‘Savennieres’, is a Cuvee produced from the 4.5 ha vineyards of ‘Le Parc’, which surround the Chateau of Epiré. More open and accessible in its youth than the other cuvees, this is a perfect introduction to the wines of Savennieres. It has an attractive fresh, floral and delicately honeyed bouquet, combined with ample citrus, green apple and orchard fruits, a steely wet slate minerality and vibrant acidity. There is also a delicate and rounding creaminess that enhances the experience, a wonderful entry into the revered range of the ancient Chateau D’Epiré.
We have always loved the Cuvée Speciale and found it to be one of the finest in Epiré’s range in terms of energy and complexity. It is sourced exclusively from the domaine’s best vineyard, Le Hu-Boyau, one of the highest-lying vineyards in Savennieres. The southern and south-eastern exposure also brings incredible ripeness to the grapes, whilst the proximity to the Loire River keeps the temperatures moderate. It is fermented in stainless steel vats and then aged for 9 months in old oak and chestnut barrels. The structure of this wine allows it to age and develop for up to 15 years. This dry wine is rich, densely textured with powerful apple, tart citrus and clementine fruits coming through with a backbone of spice and creaminess from the wood and a pleasant touch of rounding honeyed sweetness. Everything is harmoniously balanced with the addition of mouth-watering acidity and a steely minerality, and the finish is delightfully long. A perfect partner to a range of appetizers and creamy fish dishes!