The vineyards of saumur champigny like south and east of the beautiful chateau de saumur copyfinal cover

Loire Reds: Beyond the Unicorn

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Jan 2024

When it comes to Loire Valley reds, there is one cult producer whose bottles consistently steal the limelight: Clos Rougeard. Following the inauguration of its revamped winery, financed by the Mariana-Trench-deep pockets of its new owners, it’s timely to consider the impact of this unicorn on local producers and international consumers.

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Loire Chenin: Dividing Lines

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Oct 2023

Chenin Blanc producers in the Loire Valley are not just divided geologically but ideologically, with widely varying interpretations of place of origin. Throw two contrasting vintages into the mix, and the diversity of the region’s latest releases is dizzying.

Vintage crime cover copy

Book Excerpt: Vintage Crime – A Short History of Wine Fraud

France: Loire, New Zealand, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Oct 2023

In her new book Vintage Crime – A Short History of Wine Fraud, Rebecca Gibb MW tells the history of wine through some of the most well-known cases of fraud, in addition to less well-documented incidents that intrigued Rebecca personally.

The rooftops above sancerre looking out towards the vineyards including les romains copy

Sancerre’s Charm Offensive

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Jul 2023

Two thousand and twenty-two provided another warm, dry summer in Sancerre, but the wines have achieved a harmony they failed to capture in previous hot seasons. It’s time to explore why this is a more consistent and balanced vintage.

Vouvray bredif

Cellar Favorite: 1971 Marc Brédif Vouvray Grande Année

France: Loire, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, May 2023

I cannot deny that I’ve proselytized the 1971 vintage to the point where I must sound like the most scratched record in my vinyl collection (namely, a war-torn copy of With The Beatles handed down by my nan and kept for sentimental reasons). But it is true that you can travel the globe from wine region to wine region and find marvels that continue to drink well. Case in point, this gorgeous Loire that I chanced upon in London recently. I am a big fan of mature Vouvray, and Brédif seems to have a treasure trove of mature vintages.

The vineyards that lie to the east of sancerre  towards the loire river sit on flint rather than clay and limestone copy

Sancerre Sees Red

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Dec 2022

Prices of red Burgundy seem to show no sign of easing. In the search for an alternative, wine lovers may head east toward Germany or further afield to New Zealand and Oregon. However, a mere two-hour drive from the Côte de Nuits lies an often-overlooked Pinot Noir region, sitting on coveted ground.

At domaine d orfeuilles in the north of the vouvray appellation. 90  of the crop was lost to hail in june 2021 copy

Chenin Blanc: Wait a Sec

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Sep 2022

No two seasons are alike in the Loire these days. In addition, the reality is that dry wines are far easier to sell today than off-dry and sweet wines. Looking at 2020 and 2021 in the context of current trends, the question remains: while the market clamours for dry Loire Chenin Blanc, is the move towards drier styles in the wines’ best interests?

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Sancerre: Finding Its Place

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Forget the grape behind Sancerre, local producers are increasingly keen to push their individual vineyards. With records showing the Sancerrois were using the term “climat” before the Burgundians and with hundreds of individual sites today, it’s important to acknowledge their history, but I wonder if the world demands such detail from Sancerre, or if its winemakers are trying to push wine uphill.

Clos d'isore with filter cover copy

Loire Cabernet Franc: Who Do You Think You Are?

France: Loire, featured

Rebecca Gibb MW, Aug 2022

Over the past two decades the quality of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc has soared. The very best wines are inimitable, elegant, terroir-driven and sensitively handled. They deserve to be discovered, in their own right, as superlative Loire reds, not a fresher alternative to Bordeaux Right Bank nor an affordable offering for Burgundy drinkers. Following four visits to the Loire in the first half of 2021, I was left wondering why Loire Cabernet wasn’t enough, why did it have to be benchmarked against other French wine regions that don’t make single varietal Cabernet Franc?

Clos rougeard breze 2011

Cellar Favorite: 2011 Clos Rougeard Saumur Blanc Brézé

France: Loire, Cellar Favorites, cellar favorite

Neal Martin, May 2022

It was actually during a visit to Ducru-Beaucaillou that I chanced upon this week’s Cellar Favourite. Entertaining a fellow wine scribe for lunch, proprietor Bruno Borie invited me to choose their pre-prandial white before I had to shoot off to another appointment.