Last week was the third edition of Loire Millésime – an event run by InterLoire to promote Loire wines from the Pays Nantais, Anjou-Saumur and Touraine to opinion formers – journalists, sommeliers, lecturers etc. – from around the world.
This now annual event rotates between the three fiefdoms of InterLoire. The first year (2017) was held at the Abbaye de Fontrevaud near Saumur, last year Blois in e+Eastern Touraine was the base, while for this year we were judiciously accommodated the Radisson Blu, previously the Palais de Justice, in the centre of Nantes.
This third edition was certainly the best of the three editions of Loire Millésime with a number of highlights:
The Wednesday afternoon and evening programme that featured a tasting of three examples from all of the 10 Muscadet Cru Communaux at an oyster farm on the Atlantic Coast. To date three crus have been officially recognised, four have been expecting official recognition for several years now and 2019 is hoped to be the year the relevant French Minister locates their plume and signs the décret officially recognising the four new crus: – Goulaine, Monnières Saint-Fiacre, Château Thébaud and Mouzillon-Tillières.
The sea, sky and oyster beds
This was followed by spectacularly fine dinner at Château de la Rousselière cooked by Mathieu Guibert, two star Michelin chef at Anne de Bretagne, La Plaine sur Mer. The dinner accompanied some lovely old Muscadets – 2009 Domaine du Haut Bourg by Hervé et Nicolas Choblet (Grandlieu), 2005 Confluent, Château Thébaud, Famile Lieubeau, 1989 Michel Luneau (Mouzillon) and 1976 Domaine R de la Grange Rémy and Raphaël Luneau (Le Landreau). The 1976 still kept an extraordinary freshness.
Who said you have to drink Muscadet only when it is young?
Chef Matthieu Guibert with a bottle of 1981 Muscadet – his birth year
Mathieu Guibert and his team along with Muscadet vignerons
who presented their wines during Thursday
Disappointments/ lower points
The opening evening, which featured wines from a number of négociant companies, was let down by being a stand up finger buffet. Held on a boat called the Bateau Lavoir, which as the name suggests used to be a boat where clothes were washed. Unfortunately the boat was too small for the assembled crowd of journalists, sommeliers and our négociant hosts. Given that a fair proportion of the invitees had been travelling all day, some from as far away as Australia and Californian standing around eating small bits and pieces was not ideal. Indeed a number of us fairly soon peeled off looking for a more substantial repas.
Twelve of us including Hervé and Marco fortunately found a table at the nearby Le Coq en Pâte and enjoyed a jolly evening fuelled by the 2017 Le Verger Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (Luneau-Papin), Quincy from Jacques Rouzé, 2017 Origine Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil, Domaine des Vallettes (Jamet) and 2018 Saumur-Champigny, Thierry Germain.
It was also a shame that the weather last week was wet with frequent heavy showers, especially during our visit to Savennières. However, the very inclement weather did produce a marvellous interlude at La Coulée de Serrant – us all grouped sheltering around a large tree with Nicolas Joly in full flow while the elements raged around us …. a magic moment!
Nicolas Joly – later on in the dry
My grateful thanks to InterLoire and Clair de Lune for an inspiring three and a half days.
Further reflections in Part 2 next Tuesday……
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Apparently South West France is famous for Easter Bunnies…
(as modelled by drone maestro Fabien Lainé)
With Président Benoît Gautier (photo B. Gautier)