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All podcast music: “Café connection” by morgantj / CC BY 3.0, ©2009 – Licensed under Creative Commons 
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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:

  1. 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 Domaine Louvetrie as an example of a very rocky, flinty Muscadet.

  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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.


  1. 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 about producer.


  1. 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 amazing.

  1. 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-
Vouvray AOC moelleux Domaine Huet 1985

  1. Serge tells us about the terroir of Sancerre and the three soil types that make it stunning:
  • Les Caillottes
  • Flint/Silex
  • Terre Blanche – Clay


  1. 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.


  1. 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 about it.


  1. 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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