Tue 12 Apr 2011
In 1429, during the Hundred Years’ War, Joan of Arc made her headquarters in Blois, a city that maintains a good deal of its Medieval and Renaissance character. Not that such a fact has tremendous bearing on today’s Wine of the Week, except that Blois lies on the north bank of the Loire River, and if you cross the river at this point and drive south, you soon find the charming village of Cheverny, home of a notable chateau (in a region bursting with such edifices) and sleepy — I’ve been there — little seat of a minor winemaking region. This is not Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume, not Anjou or Saumur, yet the white wines — made primarily from sauvignon blanc — command respect for their liveliness and subtly woven delicacy as well as for their generally inexpensive nature. Today’s Wine of the Week is the Monmousseau Cheverny 2009, a blend of 70 percent sauvignon blanc and 30 percent chardonnay that offers hints of lemon balm and tangerine, almond and orange blossom and, as the wine spends a few moments in the glass, a strain of ginger and quince. Flavors of lime peel and grapefruit, animated by sassy acidity (and a brisk bite of spiced pear), are neatly poised with a tinge of dried grass and herbs and a finish that sends up a taut flag of limestone and gun-flint. Drink through 2012. Alcohol content is 13 percent. Very Good+. I paid $14, but it can be found around the country for $12.
Chardonnay is relatively rare in the Loire Valley, by the way, employed only as a blending grape and usually in restricted quantity.
USA Wine Imports, New York.