Forget Sauvignon Blanc, it has been done to death, writes Wine Editor MARY DOWEY, who suggests you reach for LOIRE CHENIN BLANC instead, with two SUMPTUOUS BOTTLES to choose from …
Has any wine style ever been as done-to-death as Sauvignon Blanc? It’s the ripped jeans of the wine world – usually so damned ordinary that the few dazzlers out there slip by almost unnoticed. Enough. Give it a rest this summer and try something more adventurous but equally refreshing.
My top tip is dry Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Yes, we’re in the same part of France that gives us benchmark Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé – but whereas these appellations are in the Upper Loire, some of the best Chenin Blanc comes from Anjou-Saumur much further west.
And the grape variety is totally different – tasting of ripe apples with a lick of honey to soften the bracing, lemony acidity that makes it such a terrific style to enjoy at this time of year. Don’t feel you have to hunt for the latest vintage, by the way. These wines are better after a year or two. Serve either as a smart apéritif or with light first courses. Salads involving apples or peaches with a lemon and honey dressing will provide a knockout match. Delicate fish or mild goat’s cheese will work well too.
1. Château de Fesles La Chapelle Chenin Sec, Anjou 2013 comes from a property with a fine reputation and an exceptionally long history, stretching back to 1070. Made from the fruit of 55-year-old vines, this is a glorious wine with beautifully concentrated flavours that linger in the way that those of all the best wines should. There are even hints of white peach and lime alongside the more predictable Golden Delicious notes of Loire Chenin to give it an exotic edge. ‘Brilliantly refreshing but with depth,’ I’ve scrawled in my notebook.Worth an outing to Loughlinstown.
From Whelehans Wines, Silver Tassie, Loughlinstown, €15.95
2. Lot 12 Anjou Chenin Blanc 2013 is part of an admirable Aldi initiative to bring in some better wines in small parcels or ‘lots’. Each is on the shelves only until that particular lot sells out – so, if you like the sound of this, pounce quickly. It’s textbook Loire Chenin – fresh, appley, smooth, with a smidgeon of honey to counter appetisingly juicy acidity. When it impressed me at a recent tasting, a squint at the back label revealed that it is made by Château de Fesles, the same producer as the wine mentioned above. Although it doesn’t have quite as much depth of flavour or overall class, it’s still a good buy at the price.
From Aldi (while stocks last), €12.99
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