Everyone knows sauvignon. Chenin, a little less. The fact remains that these two Loire varietals can produce some of the greatest white wines in France.
Sauvignon, first. Probably the most famous grape variety after Chardonnay. In the wrong hands (which happens all too often), it can produce horrible wines. Dried cat pee, synthetic grass, pineapple in cane. On the palate, the acidity can tear your gums out or, conversely, make the wine appear as flat as a beer flatters.
When planted on good terroirs and cared for by caring winemakers, Sauvignon can work wonders. This is the case in Sancerre. And wines from Domaine Pascale Jolivet. With more than 120 hectares, we are far from the family domain at human height. With the vagaries of the Loire climate, it is difficult to do everything organically, but that does not prevent us from working the land with respect. We are here on a frank and straightforward expression of sauvignon. The 2019 vintage is a solar one. We should also get used to it with global warming. An easy nose at the start which becomes more and more pleasant as the wine warms up and oxygenates. On the palate, we feel volume, generous fruitiness, acidity that holds everything in place and a pleasant finish, just long enough, which evokes hot citrus fruits and chalk. The perfect bistro white that you can whistle together in just 30 minutes. Better to have two in the fridge …
Pascal Jolivet, Sancerre 2019, France
$ 30.10 – SAQ code 528687 – 13% – 3 g / L
In the days of the ancients, it was called the “Pineau de la Loire”. It is legitimate to think that the Chenin (like the melon of Burgundy with which we make Muscadet) has its origins in Burgundy. Whatever. Chenin is arguably the most underrated grape in France. When properly mastered, it can produce extraordinary wines. And in all possible versions: bubbly, dry, off-dry, sweet and syrupy. The appellation Vouvray is probably the best example of this diversity of expression. We are fortunate in Quebec to have fairly easy access to the wines of Vincent Carême, one of the best estates currently. The Le Clos cuvée is one of the best wines of the estate. A juicy, almost heady, yet open, finely detailed, long, salty and fruity Chenin. A wine more intellectual than carnal. Best after 60-90 minutes open. Do not serve too cold (take out 45-60 minutes before serving). Even he was better the next day.
Vincent Carême, Le Clos 2018, Vouvray, France
$ 39.50 – SAQ code 14555664 – 14% – 6 g / L
★★★ 1⁄2 – $$$ 1⁄2
★★★ Very good
More stars than dollars: well worth the price.
As many stars as dollars: worth the price.
Fewer stars than dollars: wine is expensive.