Wednesday, 23 April 2014

A Pinot Noir from the Loire

After visiting the southern hemisphere, I thought I should venture back up to the northern hemisphere and pay a visit to the Loire Valley.

The Loire is renowned for it's white wines, especially those from Sancerre, Pouilly Fume and the slightly lesser known Menetou-Salon, all produced from the Sauvignon Blanc grape, but they also grow a small amount of Pinot Noir. They use the Pinot Noir to make their rose, but also they produce a small amount of red Sancerre. While Sancerre blanc gained it's AC qualification in 1936, it was not until 1959 that the AC qualification was extended to cover both the red and rose produced from Pinot Noir.

The 2012 Jean Colin Sancerre rouge is produced from vineyards situated around Thauvenay, on the hills southeast of sancerre. The soil here is made up two thirds Clay/Limestone and one third Flint which all add to the flavour and complexity you get in the wines from this region. They also practice Bio-Dynamic farming methods, although they are not certified, using natural pests, cover crops and the lunar cycle.

The harvesting is all done by hand and the grapes are packed into small crates to prevent them from being damaged, after going through a pre-fermentation cold soak maceration, it then goes through a two to four week fermentation, with regular cap punch downs to aid extraction. Once the fermentation process has been completed, the wine then goes into new oak barrels, from the local forests for a further 10 months maturation, where it will also go through Malolactic fermentation to give it a much more rounded and softer character.

In the glass it had a pale ruby colour, with lovely red berry fruit, raspberry, cherry and red currant you also got pear drops and a touch of spice coming through from the background. On the palate these all came through with a small amount of fine tannin and a lovely acidity which all balanced out beautifully.

I have to say I was rather impressed with this wine, it had a nice depth of flavour and was well balanced, it didn't bowl me over but I would happily drink a glass or two. On a hot day you could chill it down slightly and would be perfect for a lunch time drink, especially as it's only 13%.

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