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Some Highland Loires

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Glen Tromie and Gaick – deep in the remote Highlands of Scotland

Although we are spending the summer in the Highlands of Scotland, we are still enjoying some good Loire bottles that we brought up from London with us. We are getting in plenty of cycling, which naturally is provoking a considerable thirst!

First up: 2007 Excelsior Domaine Pierre Luneau Papin Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine
This long aged Muscadet – 30 months on its lees – is brilliantly clean, fresh with lovely length of flavor but good weight, too, which comes from its long aging. Works well as an aperitif but was even better with some simply fried and very fresh filets of sea bass. Although not yet officially one of the new Muscadet Crus Communaux this is very much in that style with the finesse and additional complexity that is a hallmark of these wines.

Crémant de Loire Terra Laura
2009 Cuvée Claude de France, Cour-Cheverny, Domaine de Montcy
Businesswoman Laura Semeria took over the 20 hectare now organic Domaine de Montcy in 2007. In the appellations of Cheverny and Cour-Cheverny it lies to the south-west of the Château and town of Cheverny. Unfortunately Laura has been hit by Spring frosts in both 2012 and 2013.

Two wines here from Laura. The Crémant is 100% Chardonnay in a very clean, vibrant, lemony style making a good wake up aperitif.  The 2009 Cuvée Claude de France is naturally 100% Romorantin in a delicate moelleux style. Lightly sweet it is best paired with blue cheese or creamy dishes. Laura recommends it with a rhubarb or cherry tart – anything sweeter would overpower it. Ideally I would have cellared the Claude de France for at least another couple of years to gain additional complexity.

2010 Les Blancs Manteaux, Chinon, Domaine de la Noblaie
Jérôme Billard is one of the most promising of the younger generation of Chinon producers. After working at Pétrus and then Dominus in Napa as well as a spell in New Zealand, he returned to the family estate in 2003. Noblaie now has 24 hectares of vines and last year Jérôme invested in a new winery – previously they worked in very cramped conditions.

Les Blancs Manteaux comes from 60 year-old vines planted on a limestone slope. Ideally the 2010 should be squirreled away for at least another two years to fulfil its potential. However, this dark wine currently has deliciously soft black fruit, supple tannins.


Auteur : Les 5 du Vin

Journalistes en vin

5 réflexions sur “Some Highland Loires

  1. Jim, I will dare a few extra « most useful » comments, as you call them.
    First, your picture, nice as ever, managed to capture an oddity. It is probably the only spot in the whole of the Highlands were the beauty of the scenery is spoiled by an electric line. Do they call it Glen Edison ?
    Second, I truly envy you. I do love this very part of the world yet it’s been ages since I last was there.
    Third: you seem to initiate a new concept. In the past, bottles of wine were shipped around the world and those “return from India” fetched very high prices. Maybe you can sell items “back from the Highland bicycle trip”. I’m sure clever marketing can convince some fools that the very movement of your pedals improves the aging of polyphenols. The “Scots Paradox” maybe ?
    Fourth – and you knew it was to come : enjoy your Aranesp™.
    And then a winey comment: I read often, as you just wrote, that fizz “gains complexity” with time. I understand that wine “sur lattes”; i.e. still on its lees before the “dégorgeage”, can still be “fed” from the autolysis of these sediments. But surely, once bottled, this phenomenon doesn’t occur any longer. How can a sparkling wine then develop more complexity yet?

    • Luc. I am greatly indebted for your most ‘useful’ comments. I fear my post has confused you. My comment about gaining complexity referred to the still moelleux Claude France not the Crémant. I have edited the piece to make this clearer. It is, however, my experience that sparkling wines do change in bottle as still wines do.

      Telephone and electric lines are not unknown in the Highlands. The line in question leads I assume to Gaick Lodge, which lies beyond the trees shown in the photo.

      I suspect that at the end of our Scottish sojourn there will be no Loire bottles for resale – not really a Scots Paradox!!

      • Thank you Jim, for these clarifications.
        I’m in no way an expert of fizz (no champagne drinker, as you know), but I enjoy sparkling wines as such and I’m sure they change in time. But gaining in complexity is another kettle of fish altogether. For the moelleux, the situation is quite different: sugar will get better integrated, caramelisation (Maillard reactions and the like) will take place to an extent and, surely, polyphenols will polymerize (Papin has lots of interesting comments on this matter). Yes, they do get more complex (the good ones, that is).
        And you are very reassuring: I was getting worried that EPO might inhibit your thirst for good wine. You know drinking a lot is one way to keep the hematocrit down! And SKY is the limit.
        Enjoy !

      • Luc. ‘Maillard reactions’ – I’ll duck that. Was confused by this EPO but realise you (LCUOA) meant Every Pinot Opens but preferred to use an abbreviation…

  2. Jim your « mallard » pun is irresistible. As you know, my quite lacunary English has been improved to some extent by my past cohabitation with various folks of Caledonian origin. One of them, a Howat, was a keen bird watcher and he introduced me to avian birds, me having up to then preferred the “chick” type. So I came to learn about the coot – bold as it is – to the stark – naked, that one – and to the Moscovy duck. And so I came to be aware of the mallard, the “col vert” of the French.
    But I doubt many among the French-speaking readers of this blog will include “mallard” in their fluent vocabulary. Hence this petty word of explanation. But full marks to you for this play on words.

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