The Prestige de Loire bottle sticker
(based on a Christmas party hat?)
InterLoire, the administrative and promotional body for the Loire, launched their sparkling wine ‘Prestige de Loire’ initiative at the 2018 Vinovision held in Paris in mid-February.
This initiative aims to highlight and give added value to the best sparkling wines from five Loire appellations – Anjou, Crémant de Loire, Saumur, Touraine and Vouvray.
Prestige de Loire is not a new appellation instead it is a branding exercise through the auspices of InterLoire and similar in concept to Eminent and Grand Eminent for Crémant de Bourgogne.
The new category is for white sparkling wines only and can only be made from four grape varieties – Chenin, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir. For the secondary fermentation they have to spend at least 24 months on the lees. The standard minimum for the five appellations is nine months. They cannot be put on the market until a minimum of three months after dégorgement.
The maximum limit of residual sugar is set at 12 grams per litre, although under EU regulations a tolerance of 3 g/l may be accepted.
There is no requirement for the grapes to be hand picked. This is obligatory for the family of Crémants and Champagne.
In order to qualify for as a Prestige de Loire the wines have to pass a tasting panel, who reward length on the palate, the finesse of the bubbles, aromas, balance and weight. The panel meets twice a year.
The intention is that these Prestige sparkling wines should retail for a minimum of 10€ a bottle. The medium term plan is for sales of 100,000 bottles a year. An initial 17 cuvées passed a jury tasting selection in December 2017.
Three of the five Prestige de Loire appellations – Crémant de Loire, Saumur and Vouvray – are represented in this initial offer. 13 of these sparkling wines come from large companies, while four come from individual domaines – two of these from Château de Moncontour (Vouvray) and other two are Domaine de la Paleine (Crément de Loire) and Château de Targé (Saumur). Most of the major sparkling wine houses are represented – Ackerman, Bouvet-Ladubay, Caves de Grenelle and Langlois-Chateau (misspelt in the press release from InterLoire – ‘Château), along with De Chanceny (Alliance-Loire’s sparkling wine brand).
Full list of the 17 initial Prestige de Loire:
Initially this initiative will target independent wine shops before late seeking to sell these wines through the supermarkets.
It remains to be seen how successful Prestige de Loire will prove to be. I suspect that it will be of greater interest to the sparkling wine houses and the coops than individual producers. Will consumers understand and opt to buy the new Prestige brand or will they buy on price? We will see!
Saumur: the centre of the Loire’s sparkling wine production