With impressive new listings from the 2011 vintage (reported here), Awin Barratt Seigel set the pace for this month’s Loire tastings.
So I was much looking forward to Charles and Philippa Sydney’s portfolio tasting this week and my first taste of the 2012 vintage. According to the Sydneys it’s a ”great vintage, making some of the nicest Muscadets,Sauvignons and Pinot Noirs we’ve ever seen.” The snag? Tiny yields, which is why the Sydneys have dubbed it “ Le Grand Petit Vintage” – see their latest vintage report here.
I can well see why the duo singled out Muscadets in particular for their quality. It must be a relief too, after last year’s generally less than distinguished efforts in a disease-prone vintage. And galling that, in such a great year, spring frost, hail, mildew and, say the Sydneys, “just about any other evil” conspired to drive down yields to between 13 and 25 hectos/hectare – paltry. Although, of course, it might also account for their wonderful concentration of fruit! Here are my Muscadet highlights:
La Grille Classic Loire Lionel Métaireau Muscadet Sévre et Maine 2012 – nice fruit weight for an entry level wine with a saline edge and crisp but integrated acidity.
Bonnet-Huteau Chateau de la Tarcière Muscadet Sévre et Maine Sur Lie 2012 – terrific concentration of fruit here, round and ripe but with grapefruity drive, a saline edge and leesy tang. Long for such a modest cuvée.
Jérémie Huchet Domaine de la Chauviniere Muscadet Sévre et Maine Sur Lie 2012 – very saline, long and fine.
Jérémie Huchet Chateau de la Templerie Muscadet Sévre et Maine Sur Lie 2012 – much more emphasis on the round, tangy, leesy pear fruit on nose and palate for this cuvee, with concentrated green almond notes in the mouth. Lovely concentration and length.
Domaine des Herbauges Le Fief Guérin Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu Sur Lie 2012 – a consistently good Muscadet, bottled under screwcap. Briney pear fruit with a touch of ozone, green almond and a good push of acidity for focus and length.
Domaine des Herbauges La Roche Blanche Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu Sur Lie 2012 – tight and salty on the attack with a whiff of ozone; nice underlying glinty (think quartz) minerality, with an attractive sandy texture to the finish.
Bonnet-Huteau Les Dabiniéres Muscadet Sévre et Maine Sur Lie 2012 – good intensity and leesy tangy with a cool but ripe core of pear fruit.