Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Christian and Karine Lauverjat from Sancerre
Laurent Givrey from Elite Imports brought a large group of winemakers over to the Washington DC area at the end of April. I was able to establish contact with and taste the wines of a number of them. One of the winemakers, who impressed me very much, was the husband and wife team Christian and Karine Lauverjat from Domaine Lauverjat in Sancerre, France. I had the opportunity to taste his wines at Paul’s on Wisconsin Avenue.
The Loire Valley includes a number of wine regions along the Loire River, from the Muscadet region on the Atlantic coast to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé in north central France. In between are the regions of Anjou, Saumur, Bourgueil, Chinon, and Vouvray. appellations.
The majority of production is white wine from the Chenin Blanc and the Sauvignon Blanc grapes. There are, however, some red wines made, notably in the Chinon region, from Cabernet Franc. In addition, with the Crémant de Loire, the Loire Valley is the second largest sparkling wine producer in France, after Champagne.
The Loire Valley has a long history of winemaking. In the High Middle Ages, the wines of the Loire Valley were the most esteemed wines in England and France. It is also noteworthy for its architectural heritage, in its breathtaking historic towns such as Amboise, Angers, Blois, Chinon, Nantes, Orléans, Saumur, and Tours, but in particular for its castles, such as the Châteaux d'Amboise, Château de Chambord, Château de Villandry and Chenonceau.
Picture: The Wine regions of the Loire Valley
Almost all of the appellation of Sanceree lie on the left bank of the Loire, opposite Pouilly-Fumé, in the western part of the Loire Valley. Sancerre is well regarded for and primarily associated with Sauvignon Blanc, making wines of great purity and elegance. Pinot Noir is also grown, accounting for around 20% of the region's production. A rosé style from Pinot noir is also produced.
The focus of Sancerre winemakers is usually to express the pure fruit flavors of Sauvignon Blanc and the natural terroir of the region.Sancerre wines tend to have very little interaction with oak, instead spending most of their fermentation and aging period in large stainless steel fermentation tanks. However, since the late 20th century some producers have begun experimenting with some degree of oak fermentation or aging.
The vine growing area is 2200 hectars; about 16 million bottles is the annual production.
Cheese of the Sancerre region
I not only like the wines of the Sancerre region, but also the delicious cheese, they produce there: Chabichou du Poitou, Crottin de Chavignol, Pouligny Saint Pierre, Valencay.
Husband and wife team Christian and Karine Lauverjat's Domaine Lauverjat lies in the village of Sury-en-Vaux in the heart of the Sancerre Appellation. The property has been in the family for several generations, but Christian and Karine are the first to make and bottle their own wines.
The 12 hectares of vineyard are on the slopes of one hill, with two main soil types. The upper part of the hill is dominated by limestone clay soils, known locally as terre blanche which produce full bodied, well-structured wines. The lower part of the slope has a pebble limestone soil known locally as caillottes which tends to produce lighter more fruity wines.
What Christian and Karine Poured
Sancerre Moulin des Vrilleres Blanc 2009
Tasting notes: Straw yellow in the glass, notes of herbs and gooseberries on the nose. medium bodied, crisp and dry, flavors of smoky minerals, juicy tangy citrus and pink grapefruit on the palate, lasting finish, an easy going wine.
Sale $17.99 Reg. $21.99
Sancerre Moulin des Vrilleres Rosé 2008
Tasting notes: 100% Pinot Noir, pale orange in the glass, fresh strawberries and raspberries on the nose, medium-bodied, satin-textured, fruity, well-balanced wine with a long finish.
Sale $18.99 Reg. $23.99
Sancerre Moulin des Vrilleres Rouge 2008
Tasting notes: ruby in the glass, on the nose are aromas of cherry pit, lavender, humus and ripe fruits, medium to full bodied wine, generous tart cherry and hints of fresh herb notes on the palate, the cherry fruit comes out again on the finish.
Sale $18.99 Reg. $23.99
Domaine Lauverjat, Sancerre, France
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