From €13, $18.12, £17.99, CA$27.99, 329 Rand
As we reported in Current offerings from the Loire and Alsace recently, Montlouis was ravaged by hail last week. As a mark of sympathy with the growers (who have suffered this catastrophe twice recently), and because this wine is so very delicious, this week's wine is a razor-sharp Chenin Blanc from this appellation in Touraine, just across the river Loire from equally-hit Vouvray.
Jacky Blot of the Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (and Domaine de la Butte in Bourgeuil) has been a very effective exporter in recent years. You can find his wines distributed widely around the globe, and according to winesearcher.com, this particular dry Montlouis is available in France, Holland, Germany, the UK, the US, Canada and South Africa. We include four of his Montlouis in our Current offerings from the Loire and Alsace, all from different UK retailers. But by far the best value I thought was this bottling, a blend of the first tranche of grape gathered from his Montlouis vineyards rather than a later-picked offering from one of his special parcels, which inevitably cost considerably more.
Rémus, for example, is his ambitious, even more obviously oaked bottling while Rémus Plus is made from even older vines, those at least 80 years old. Clos Mosny is the result of the second picking through this particular parcel. I'm sure it will eventually blossom but is too tight to enjoy now - in fact of all these four 2011s, I thought only the least expensive, Les Dix Arpents was ready to enjoy. In fact I even wondered whether there was a hint of botrytis, as well as the light note of creamy oak, here. There is all the searing acidity and hint of honey that one expects of a fine Vouvray or Montlouis, but all the interest and subtlety that a truly ambitious winemaker can ensure. It seems amazing to me that such complexity is hatched in the cellars of this modest little house in a Montlouis backstreet.
Les Dix Arpents would make a thoroughly intriguing aperitif but is really made for the table. It tastes quite dry and would be a very handsome partner for any fish and many chicken dishes. Although it's already charming, I'd be quite happy to watch it develop over the rest of the decade. Those with long memories may remember that this domaine also produced this fizzy wine of the week. The cuvée of Triple Zéro I tasted earlier this year was not quite as thrilling as the one I raved about in October 2011.