The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 42 of 128

TASTINGS Diversity and Complexity THE LOIRE VALLEY WINE BUREAU'S AMERICAN TOUR IS A HIT IN AUSTIN by Anthony Head / photos by Kirk Weddle Tasting Notes Château de L'Oiselinière 2009 Muscadet Sèvre & Maine ($10) This 100-per- cent Melon de Bourgogne has the familiar crispness of Muscadet wines from the region. It's lively with fresh apricot and peach aromas, while exhibiting broad citrus flavors. A real palate-pleaser. ESPRIT DU VIN WINE MERCHANTS Fillatreau 2010 Saumur Château Fouquet ($18) Structured for light heavyweight palates, this young Cab Franc benefits from 15 minutes in the refrigerator before serving. The tobacco and floral aromas are deep; the ripe black currant flavors are rounded; the tannins are soft, the minerals nuanced. LOUIS/DRESSNER SELECTIONS Paul Thomas 2009 Sancerre "Les Comtesses" ($20) Elegant, almost Viognier-like, with soft acidity and green apples. The grass notes are muted, giving way to more citrus and pepper. This Sauvignon Blanc is balanced, though ever evolving. LANGDON SHIVERICK, INC. Loving Loire (left to right): Grace Guinn, Jennifer Grathwohl and Becka Brown of the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas enjoy Loire wines. O n a sunny afternoon in September, the wine press and trade gathered at the Barr Mansion in Austin, Texas for an introduction to producers from France's famed Loire Valley. On hand were high-volume brands and relatively unknown vintners, most making their first appearance in U.S. mar- kets. Although dominated by four varietals—Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne and Cabernet Franc—Loire Valley wines demonstrate a breadth of complexity. They also have great value, especially considering the artisan craftsmanship from these family wineries, some of which date back many centuries. "This is our first event in Austin and we're very excited to see the reception these wineries are getting," said David Cohn, Account Executive for Benson Marketing Group. This New York–based agency handled logistics for the Loire Valley Wine Bureau American tour, which included San Francisco, Miami and New York. "There is a tremendous amount of diversity to the Loire Valley. The quality and value get people excited about the wines." Cristin Moxie Castro, a broker and importer for Esprit du Vin Wine, poured Château de L'Oiselinière and explained that while finding great wines is never a problem in the Loire, getting them to U.S. markets can be challenging, but not for lack of interest here. "We have the opportunity to represent some killer wines, but when we first sit down at the table with the winemakers it can be hard to convince them. They know that it takes so much to make it here," Castro says. It's the sons and daughters, she continues, who have worked in the wine trade in Spain and France, or Macau or Canada who often step up and become the new visionaries. "They know both the values and benefits of their wines abroad." 42 / the tasting panel / december 2011 Rèmy Pannier 2010 Muscadet Sèvre & Maine ($15) This expresses Melon de Bourgogne's tongue tingling character- istics, but it's more lush and full bodied. This is a serious wine for oysters and seafood dishes in light cream sauce. PALM BAY INTERNATIONAL Rémy Pannier 2010 Rosé d'Anjou ($10) Medium pink color and light-medium weight, this dry rosé cuvée smells of strawberries and rhubarb. There are refreshing hints of white peppercorn on the end. PALM BAY INTERNATIONAL Rémy Pannier 2010 Vouvray ($14) Chenin Blanc's sharp acidity is countered by a medium-dry palate of tart green apple and soft minerality. Sophisticated and approachable. PALM BAY INTERNATIONAL

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