Feb 22, 2021
Serge Doré, importer of French wine (and
American via Quebec…he’s a man of many identities and a worldliness
we can only aspire to!) and popular podcast regular, joins us to
talk about the Loire Valley. Serge has been visiting the Loire
since 1985 and has seen its evolution over the decades. He joins to
give us the world of Loire from his perspective, humanize it with
stories of producers he imports and some he has just met, and tell
us what we can expect from this sometime confusing but wonderfully
beautiful and diverse French wine region (for those of you
interested in tariffs and how they are affecting business, the last
5 minutes of the pod is also devoted to that topic!).
Here are the notes:
- Serge takes us through the main Loire regions.
We being in Muscadet/the Pay Nantais. We discuss how far the wine
has come in the last 20 years, and what good quality it is now.
Serge says it reminds him of a ripe honeydew melon, so the grape
name is fitting (the grape is called Melon de Bourgogne). He
mentions Domaine Bouchaud whose wines he imports. I mention
Louvetrie as an example of a very rocky, flinty Muscadet.
- We talk about Anjou and the lovely Chenin Blanc here. We focus
first on Savennières, and then discuss the sweet wines of Quarts de
Chaume, Coteaux de Layon, and others in the area. Serge talks about his early experiences with these
stunning, yet rare wines.
- We take a side trip to Sancerre. Serge confirms my hypothesis that Sancerre can sell
all day long, but that Pouilly-Fumé has no takers! I mention the
great Didier Dageneau and his Silex wine.
- We discuss the marketing issue for Loire – namely that they
don’t know how to do it! I fell that Anjou blanc and rouge, as well
as Saumur blanc and rouge are generally generic and don’t taste
great. Serge explains that most growers sell to negociants and
co-ops who make seas of blah wines that aren’t from specific areas.
The result: Rouge and Blanc from these parts are hard to pin down
from a style perspective.
- Serge loves Saumur- Champigny – a Cabernet Franc
that is light, fruity, lower in alcohol but has great earthy notes.
Thierry Germain is the master and is imported by Kermit Lynch.
I say I have found it to be hit or miss. Serge reminds me: it’s all
- Serge talks about why Touraine is the upcoming
region of France and has been for a few years. He cites climate
change as making a big difference for the ripeness levels and
flavors for Touraine. 2015 was the big shift in the wines.
We mention my new favorite Chinon and St. Nicholas de Bourgueil:
Pascal et Alain Lourieux (available on Wine Access). Serge tells us
stories about how absolutely focused these brothers are on the
vineyard to get the results they do. The story is funny and
- Ahhh, Vouvray! It’s a frustrating topic. Serge tells us about
how hard it is to sell because of its many styles and we return to
one of the themes of the Loire: superb wines, no marketing savvy.
The wine of Serge’s that I love is Domaine Bourillon Dorléans “La
Coulee d’Argent”. It had some age (which I think Vouvray really
needs) and was very flinty, with lemon curd and vanilla notes –
tasty! Serge tells us stories of Fred Bourillon, his family and his
wine. We briefly discuss the top dog of Vouvray, Domain Huet who
makes outstanding, consistent Vouvray.
Source: jamesonf- https://www.flickr.com/photos/jamesonfink/5147142662/
Vouvray AOC moelleux Domaine Huet
- Serge tells us about the terroir of Sancerre and
the three soil types that make it stunning:
- Les Caillottes
- Terre Blanche – Clay
- We discuss the importance of climate and how the two different
climates, which switch off at Amboise from maritime influenced to
continental, divide the Loire. Slope, breezes, river effects – all
the dorkiness is in this section of the conversation.
- Serge and I muse about how natural wine may be a
bit overhyped by the media where the Loire is concerned. Low
intervention/traditional winemaking is the order of the day with
the reds and Chenin however, Serge doesn’t hear producers talk
- Finally, we discuss the issues around tariffs and why they are
so destructive for the wine industry in the US.
I love Serge,having him on is such a pleasure. Check out his site to see his
selection of wines.
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