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From the dramatic cliffs of Saint-Thébaud in Muscadet to the rolling hills of Sancerre and the volcanic peaks in the heart of France, the Loire River flows through a complex range of soils capable of producing not only some of the best wine values in the world but offering them in a diversity of styles to suit any wine lover. Jon-David Headrick has spent twenty years exploring the Loire Valley and will join us to spotlight four families and their wines.
From Famille Lieubeau in the Pays Nantais on the far western edge of the Loire Valley we will uncover some of the oldest rocks in France – the very bedrock that predates much of life on earth and the crystalline, precise wines that come from vines rooted in them.
From the gently rolling hills of Saumur, we will explore the subterranean caves under this medieval village and taste the sparkling wines made from the chalky soils of the region made by one of the last family-owned Sparkling specialists in the Loire Valley – Louis de Grenelle.
Moving further east we will stop at Domaine de la Noblaie in Chinon where Jêrome Billard is the fourth generation of his family to tend vines in a small valley surrounded by woods. Here we will talk about François Rabelais, crusaders, stone fermentation tanks, Joan of Arc, and of course Cabernet Franc.
Our last stop will be in the sleepy and often overlooked Touraine where one can find Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay, Cot & Cabernet Franc with as much character and nuance as anywhere else in the world. South of Vouvray and situated between the Loire and Cher rivers, the Touraine is home to Jean-François Mérieau who makes some of the best values in Jon-David Headrick’s portfolio.
Hosted by Jon-David Headrick & Steven Spanbauer
Platform – This event has passed but if you missed the tasting, you can still watch a recording of it. You can still ask questions during the presentation and we can respond by email – just give us 24 hours for a response. You can also download a copy of the presentation here.
Wines of the Night – Famille Lieubeau Muscadet Gneiss de Bel Abord, Louis de Grenelle Corail, Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon Les Temps des Cerises or Les Chiens-Chiens, Jean-François Mérieau Sauvignon Blanc Les Hexagonales or Aprent des Vaudons
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Standing in a rocky, chalk-covered vineyard a many years ago, I listened as a winegrower friend talked about the current state of wine. “Fruit in wine is easy”, he said. “Purity is elusive.” He was right, of course, but I’d never really thought about it in such stark terms. He continued, “Purity comes from hardship. It comes from the struggle of the vine’s roots through the rocks it is planted on, it comes from the fight against every other plant vying for the same water and nutrients, and it comes from the plant learning to fight for itself and not having man fight its battles.”
In creating my portfolio, I was looking for these kinds of wines, and I found them planted on a massive swath of chalk and slate that runs from the Atlantic Ocean through the Loire river valley and into Champagne. This “chalk line” produces wines of extraordinary purity, minerality, and soul and represents the heart of my portfolio. The properties with which I work are consumed with making true wines – wines that are true to where they come from, true to the earth, and true to the winemaker’s obsession with quality. The vast majority of the properties with which I work practice organic or biodynamic viticulture and I wholly support winemakers who harvest by hand, use indigenous yeasts, and who vinify with little intervention. All are leaders in their appellations and harvest at dramatically lower yields than their neighbors. Above all else, they are farmers.
To join in the tasting we will be establishing retail partners in several markets. If you are interested in becoming a retail partner, or you are a consumer who would like to participate please contact us and we will try to assist you in locating the wines.