The end of summer in Ireland means it’s time for SuperValu’s French Wine Sale, running from 5th to 26th September in store and online. As well as the usual favourites there will be a dozen “Special Guest Wines” which are available for a limited time only – marked with *.
Part 2 will look at some great Bordeaux wines from the sale; this part 1 looks at some of the others I enjoyed:
La Petite Perrière Sauvignon Blanc Vin de France 2018* (12.5%, €11.99 down to €9.00 at SuperValu)
For this cuvée La Perrière blended Sauvignon Blanc grapes from their home in the Loire with others sourced from the Languedoc and the Gers, adding ripe southern fruit to crisp Loire grapes. In my view this has been very successful as overall it presents appealing ripeness with a fresh finish. The nose and palate reflect the Gs: gooseberry, grapefruit and grass.
La Petite Perrière Rosé 2017* (11.5%, €11.99 down to €9.00 at SuperValu)
It is rare for me to recommend a rosé, and outside of quality sparkling or excellent wines like Domaine Tempier of Bandol, I actually prefer the simpler, cheaper wines to the fancier ones. This doesn’t have a celebrity owner or producer, but it’s accessible and affordable, with appealing red fruit and a fresh finish. Why can’t more rosés be like this?
Alma Cersius Coteaux de Béziers Rouge 2017* (13.5%, €14.99 down to €10.00 at SuperValu)
The IGP Coteaux de Béziers is in the Languedoc’s Hérault department and up until 2015 was known as Coteaux-du-Libron, the change effected for better name recognition. The IGP regulations are very wide in terms of permitted grape varieties, but the three used here are among the most well known: 50% Syrah, 25%Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a fruit forward wine with very soft tannins, showing blackcurrant, plum and raspberry notes. A great quaffing wine to have in the cupboard when friends pop round for a drink.
Coteaux du Giennois Alchimie 2018 (13.5%, €14.99 down to €10.00 at SuperValu)
In years past I have reviewed the 2014 and 2015 vintages so it’s fair to say that it’s a favourite. The vines are on sandy soil, deposited when the Loire was broader and slow-moving at the edges. This makes for a soft, gentle wine which it great for sipping. Wild yeast fermentation adds a bit of interest.
Guy Saget Sancerre 2018 (13.0%, €19.99 down to €15.00 at SuperValu)
Into more serious territory now, a wine aged for seven months on the lees in stainless steel tank. This is an expressive wine with a slightly saline, mineral character backed up by floral notes and tangy fruit. The 2018 vintage is drinking now but if well kept should develop nicely over the next few years.
Guy Saget Pouilly-Fumé 2016 (12.5%, €19.99 down to €15.00 at SuperValu)
From Sancerre we now cross directly from the left (southern) bank of the Loire to the right bank and Pouilly-Fumé. Sancerre has a more rolling landscape and more diverse soils, whereas Pouilly-Fumé is flatter, and also closer to the river. We also have an additional two years of bottle age with this 2016, which shows white flowers and green fruit in an elegant package.
Simonnet-Febvre Crémant de Bourgogne NV* (12.0%, €26.99 down to €19.00 at SuperValu)
This was one of my highlights of the tasting, an excellent traditional method sparkling from the Chablis area (the black grapes coming from the Auxerrois). Simmonet-Febvre is in fact the only producer of Crémant de Bourgogne in the far north of Burgundy and has been making it since 1840. The blend is 60% Chardonnay and 40% Pinot Noir, with the wine resting on its lees after the second fermentation for 24 months. This is notably well in excess of the 9 months required for non-vintage crémant and even the 15 months required for NV Champagne. On pouring it has a nice weight to it, with citrus and red fruits lifted by some bready notes. A classy wine!
Mégalithe Sancerre 2016* (12.5%, €29.99 down to €22.00 at SuperValu)
Now we have a different beast entirely. Of course this is 100% Sauvignon Blanc but 40% of the must is fermented (with wild yeast) and matured in new French oak. Over this eight to nine month period the fine lees are stirred regularly. The other 60% is vinified in stainless steel and the two batches blended before bottling. It has a little more weight and funk than the Guy Saget wines above but not that much compared to, say, Greywacke Wild Sauvignon. This is a gentle, gorgeous wine that will drink well now and for the next few years.
Louis Latour Meursault 2017* (13.5%, €59.99 down to €42.00 at SuperValu)
As long as I have been into wine Meursault has been a premium wine with a premium price. After the Montrachet twins it’s the next most celebrated white wine commune of the Côte de Beaune, with a reputation for medium to full bodies oak-aged wines. Louis Latour’s history goes back to 1797 and has been in family hands ever since. Outside of the Côte d’Or the firm also owns Simmonet-Febvre (see above) and produces wines in the Ardèche.
The Louis Latour 2017 Meursault is fermented in oak barrels where it also goes through MLF. Maturation is also in medium toast oak barrels (from its own cooperage), 15% of which are new. This is a generous wine with lovely heft and mouthfeel, full of soft fruits and a touch if vanilla from the oak. 2017 is a fairly accessible vintage but if put away for another year it would be even more of a treat.