Le Dû's Grand Crew June '19: "The Lower Loire"
Posted by Connor Smith on
Looking for a Santa Barbara wine? The link on the tags for our July wines didn't have their URL updated. You can find their videos by clicking here for leduwines.com/blogs/gc/july19!
The soggy, stony corner of France known as the Lower Loire has more in common on a climatic level with the British Isles than it does the sunny, easy vineyards of the east and south that you might picture when you think of French wine. But despite this - or, perhaps, because of it - this may be the wine region with the purest farming practices in the world.
Winemaking here is a painstaking, pastoral endeavor that nobody is getting rich off of. Spraying never quite caught on in this part of France like it did in Burgundy or Bordeaux, despite the constant threat of mildews. These workmanlike vignerons seem more willing than anywhere else to watch a vintage fail, dust themselves off, and try again rather than engage in heavy chemical intervention in the vineyard. Despite their proximity to British and Dutch wine lovers, there was simply never enough supply at the top level to capture the imaginations of these thirsty nations on an institutional level. Perhaps that is why in 2019, there is nowhere else in France that offers the outrageous quality-to-value ratio of the Lower Loire.
For our purposes, we are including the region of Anjou-Saumur, sometimes grouped in the Middle Loire, in the Loire Loire. Compared to the wealthy and sunny Touraine upriver with its more homogeneous soils, Anjou-Saumur is much more the kind of hard but honest winemaking culture that defines the low country of the Loire.