Our second “Wine Wednesday” virtual event of 2022 sees us compare two famous, but very different valleys in France; the Loire and the Rhône.
Join us for 4 weeks of superb, top-quality wines, accompanied as ever by explanations of why the wine tastes the way it does, plenty of maps and pictures and of course some friendly banter with like-minded people, all from the safety and comfort of your own home.
If you’re new to Virtual tastings, they work like this – place your order for the event at the bottom of this page and then hop over to the wine merchant, in this case Frazier’s of Solihull, to order your wines (we do not sell wine and are completely independent). Your wines will be delivered direct to your door and away you go!
All the Zoom sessions are recorded and you will receive the presentation and Zoom recording after each week, so you can watch it all again, also great if you miss a week.
Week 1 - Wednesday 26th January
We start our Loire exploration at the end next to the Ocean with a Muscadet. A fresh, crisp, dry, light wine that is best served cool with a good persistence of flavour. Sur lie means on the lees, giving the wine a more intense of flavour than a straight Muscadet.
Next up we travel to the centre of the Loire wine region to sample the local speciality red variety, Cabernet Franc from Chinon. Its name is evocative of the plump black-cherry fruit in this healthy ripe vintage. Will develop in bottle but its bright fruit and well-managed tannins make it approachable now.
Week 2 - Wednesday 2nd February
Chenin Blanc’s home territory is the Loire and most famously Vouvray. We have a classic medium dry Vouvray. Apple aromas on the nose, followed by elegant fruity citrus and ripe pear flavours on the palate, added to the wine's off dry character, the result is a fruity, zippy and refreshing balance, a classic expression of the Chenin Blanc grape.
We finish our Loire exploration in its famous (and most exported) appellation – Sancerre. Known for its white Sauvignon Blanc wines it also produces a little sublime red wine from Pinot Noir, often presenting much better value than those from Burgundy itself. Our delicate red wine has lovely sweet fruit and judicious oak flavour. The wine has an elegant, almost floral character on the nose. The palate is fresh and has lovely raspberry fruit.
Week 3 - Wednesday 9th February
Moving down to the Rhône we focus this week on the Crozes-Hermitage appellation. Known more for its red wines, it also produces superb white wines from Marsanne (often with Roussanne as a blending partner). Our example is 100% Marsanne 50-year-old vines; quince, peony and then roasted almond on the nose, with a lovely rich character.
Of course, its is the red wine of the Rhône that is justifiably famous, and we have a fantastic Syrah to taste. Very intense, purplish red in colour. On the nose; black cherry, blackcurrant, raspberry and vanilla. On the palate full and round, the wine has a lovely rich character and blackcurrant fruit flavour, with stewed fruits and vanilla on the finish.
Week 4 - Wednesday 16th February
The Southern Rhône is very different to the North. For one thing there is a local speciality in the shape of a Vin Doux Naturel, made from Muscat de Petit Grains, with fermentation stopped by the addition of grape spirit, creating a sweet, high-alcohol white wine. Our example has a golden colour, exotic fruit and white flowers on the nose. Palate is fresh with a good balance between acidity and mellowness, not too sweet, peach notes. Clean and long refreshing finish.
We end with one of my personal favourite appellations – Gigondas. If you like Châteauneuf du Pape but are frustrated by its inconsistency (and deterred by high prices for guaranteed quality), let me introduce you to its much more reliable close rival and neighbour.
Like CndP, Gigondas is a Grenache-led wine with Syrah and Mourvedre providing extra structure and black fruit. Our example from top Rhône producer Guigal, is 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, aged for 2 years in oak foudres. Purple in colour with an intense nose dominated by blackberry and raspberry with liquorice and notes of herbs. Generous, powerful and full-bodied with a long elegant finish. A frank attack, racy with soft tannic structure.
As with all our virtual wine tastings, nobody has to be designated driver as you can enjoy these wines from the comfort of your own home.
We do not sell wine, so we have partnered again with our friends at Frazier’s of Solihull, who will deliver the wines to your door.
The price for this event does not include the cost of the wines.
The wines can be purchased from Fraziers at the discounted price of £120 (full price is £143.60). Please follow this link to place your order
To ensure deliveries take place in good time, the order cut off for this course is Thursday 20th January.
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