The Loire has many secrets in the form of its lesser-known villages and this is one of the finest.
A gorgeous, layered, fresh and elegant Sauvignon Blanc that is recognisable as Loire, but distinct from its more famous neighbouring villages of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé.
Bright, fresh green and yellow fruit flavours are supported by a broader body and a satisfying palate. Flavours of apricot, gooseberry, peach and citrus fruits are higlighted by flint-smoke and fresh-cut herbs. It's a delicious wine.
Interestingly, for such a serious and accomplished wine, this is an estate that was only fully established in 2012 by young winemaker Anthony Girard (he's the chap in the picture). Having planted the Menetou Salon vineyard in Morogues in 2010, he bought the remaining eight and a half hectares of vineyard to complete his estate in Sancerre and Quincy. Basing the winemaking in a hamlet called Recy, in the south-east of the Sancerre appellation, he makes excellent wines in the three villages, in white, red and rosé styles.
The quality factors are two-fold: his precision and skill in the winery and the selection of vineyard soil types that he made when hew bought the estate. One more important than the other? Well, yes, it's the soils. The soils in Menetou Salon are almost entirely Kimmeridgian clay, the historic soil of some of the finest estates on the Loire. These soils hold water and the heat of the sun better than the flinty soils of Pouilly Fumé or the "Caillotes" of Sancerre. It's the same sort of climate and the same river influence, but the soils here makes the wine softer, broader and richer.
While a lifetime studying Sauvignon Blancs might sound really dull (not to mention mouth-numbingly acidic...), a little scratching at the surface, and a good deal of experimenting with wine from different villages and soils types, will yield much more nuance than the supermarkets' New World Sauvignon sections would lead you to believe could ever exist. The Loire is definitely the place to start.
Region: Loire Valley
Grape(s): Sauvignon Blanc
Style: Pure, Medium-Light, Herbaceous, Fruity, Fresh, Fleshy, Elegant, Crisp, Complex, Bright
Best food matches: Tuna, Trout, Soft Cheeses, Shellfish, Seafood, Scallops, Salads, Oysters, Mature Cheeses, Lobster, Hard Cheeses, Goat's Cheese, Fine Dining, Cheeses, Charcuterie, Aperitif