The Rhone and the Loire are France’s two primary wine rivers, but the two could not be more different in geography or styles of wine. The Rhone carves its way through mountains to get to the sea, and its wines are similarly big and bold. The Loire, however, winds its way languidly across rolling farmland on its journey to the Atlantic, and its wines are gentler as well, although they nevertheless have excellent structure.
The Central Loire is the original home of great Sauvignon Blancs and lesser-known Pinot Noirs, and today’s The Dozen looks at a few of the former made by the Saget family. We also have some Portuguese whites, South American reds, and a delightful Champagne to cap off a late-summer picnic of wines.
2019 Aveleda Loureiro – Alvarinho Vinho Verde ($11). Mellow fruit with a little spice and good acidity.
2010 Vila Verde “Pluma” Minho Alvarhino ($11). Nice – elegant but with edgy green fruits and an almost creamy finish.
2020 La Perrière “La Petite Perrière” Vin de France Sauvignon Blanc ($11). A more complex wine than the price would signal – lovely, vibrant green fruit, yet moderately full-bodied with good texture and minerality.
2019 João Portugal Ramos Monção e Melgaço Alvarinho ($19). Medium body with gooseberry green flavors, but not overly herbal or tart.
2018 La Perrière Blanc Fume de Pouilly ($24), Green fruity, good mouthfeel, and minerality with nice finishing acidity.
2019 La Perrière Sancerre Blanc ($35). Great texture and depth of flavors, assertive tart green flavors with some lime in the finish – a textbook and very good Sancerre.
2016 La Perrière “Mégalithe” Sancerre ($58). A fine wine to pair with anything with a cream sauce – mature wood notes to go along with the mellow green fruitiness and crisp finish.
NV Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut ($50). Rounded flavors of ripe apples balanced by stony minerality and a touch of vanilla. Some more, please.
2020 La Perrière “La Petite Perrière” Vin de France Rosé ($12). Very refreshing, with strawberry and mineral flavors, appropriately tart but with good cushioning textures.
2020 La Perrière “La Petit Perrière” Vin de France Pinot Noir ($12). It tastes more like a raspy Grenache than a Pinot. The grapes come from the Loire and the South of France, which may have something to do with it. But, anyway, a good red for pasta and pizza.
2019 Coen Uco Valley Malbec ($20). A beautiful mix of black raspberry and red fruits, a little tart, long on the palate.
2017 Ventisquero “Obligua” Colchagua Carménère ($47). Full yet tart blackberry and currant flavors with some refreshing green notes.
Prices listed are generally SRP or from wine-searcher.com. As more wineries are now shipping direct-to-consumer, check the winery website if you can’t find a bottle in your retail store.
Feature photo courtesy of Saget La Perriere