This offer expired on 30 September 2012
|Didier Dagueneau||Dom Des Forges||Dom Huet||Dom Charles Joguet||Dom A. Mellot||Dom François Cotat|
From its source in the Massif Central along its 600 mile course to the Atlantic coast, the Loire valley is home to the most diverse winemaking region in France. The vast plethora of styles reflects the rich variety of terroirs, grape varieties and their differing climatic zones. Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc thrive here like in no other region in the world, creating wines that range from crisp and refreshingly dry, rich and oak-influenced, to the hedonistically sweet. In the hands of sensitive growers, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir excel too – whose fine infusions of raspberry and cherry fruit can demand years in the cellar to show their true worth.
The infinite variety found here undoubtedly owes much to the region’s history, but the soils, peppered with tuffeau (of whichmany of the local châteaux are built), quartz, schist, chalk, seashells and sandstone all have their part to play. The one defining signature of all these wines, however, is their backbone of acidity – or nervosité. Loire wines have an unmistakable vibrancy that means many of them age remarkably well. This is not only true for the moelleux wines of Vouvray, but also the best Sancerres and Chinons. For wine-lovers and wine-collectors alike, there is much to tempt them here.
Thanks to viticultural advances and the extreme efforts of many growers over the last decade, the Loire Valley has seen the quality of its wines soar. And despite its marginal, northern climate, an accomplished grower can now be expected to make good quality wine in almost every vintage. The wines in this offer showcase the very finest Loire producers from the last two vintages, including long-established names in the Lay & Wheeler portfolio as well as several new treasures that have been making waves among the region’s most ardent enthusiasts.
…was a vintage with an exceptional reputation across France and nonemore so than in the Loire Valley,where excellent ripeness levels and acidity have suited the range of styles produced here, creating wines of exemplary balance and finesse. For the reds in particular, this has meant that whilst they are not as open and immediately appealing as their 2009 counterparts, their precision deem them perfect for ageing and – coupled with the growing movement away from high-extraction – they will surely provide much enjoyment in the long-term. The Sauvignons are delightful, somewhere between 2002 and 2008 in style and, in the Coteaux du Layon, the conditions could barely have been better as the sunshine throughout October added wonderful concentration; fromdry through to liquoreux, the ripeness and purity are beautifully in tune.
…is a challenging vintage, seen to be the result of an unpredictable growing season where summer arrived in spring and autumn in summer, finishing with a glorious Indian summer in late September. Those who waited for the grapes to reach full maturity really benefitted from the excellent weather conditions at harvest – though careful sorting and meticulous winemaking were vital to producing good results.The watchword in this vintage is ‘freshness’, creating some excellent dry white wines in particular, the best of which ably reflect their vineyard and terroir.
The “wild man of Pouilly” Didier Dagueneau was not only famous for his outlandish style and outspoken nature, but also for the sheer quality of his wines, which were equally idiosyncratic as they were brilliant. Following his unexpected death in 2008, the estate is now managed by his son, Louis-Benjamin, who is maintaining his father’s focus on producing some of the highest quality wines in the Loire; and where, according to neighbour Alphonse Mellot, he continues to “push terroir to the limit”. The estate’s 11.5 hectares include the most reputable plots in the appellation and consist of Kimmeridgian marls and hard calcareous rock and flint (Silex).
These legendary Sauvignon Blancs are much sought-after in every vintage and represent the very best of these terroirs. Indeed in this, Louis-Benjamin’s third vintage, the wines are nothing less than splendid. The estate also owns a small terraced vineyard in the Jurançon at the foot of the Pyrenees whose unique world-class sweet wine Les Jardins de Babylone we are delighted to offer alongside the 2010s.
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Contact Address: Lay & Wheeler Limited, Holton Park, Holton St Mary, Suffolk CO7 6NN
Registered Address: Lay & Wheeler Limited, Majestic House, Otterspool Way, Watford, WD25 8WW, England