Tomorrow (Saturday) morning I will be heading out to Angers, principally for the Salon which starts on Monday although I will be keeping myself busy over the weekend with a small programme of visits, including Domaine de la Bergerie (Anjou, Chaume, Quarts de Chaume, etc.) and Domaine Luneau-Papin (Muscadet). I’m looking forward to the first of these visits as Yves Guégniard is a very talented guy who turns out a range of really beautiful wines, his Savennières and sweet wines being the pick of the bunch I think. The trip to Luneau-Papin should also be rather special, as it is too many years since I was anywhere near Muscadet-land. I know Pierre-Marie (Pierre Luneau-Papin’s son) will be showing a range of older vintages of L d’Or at the Salon, back to the 1976 (no – not a typo!), and I doubt such wines will be open for our visit so I suspect I will have to visit him at his stand at the Salon as well, as this would beat my previous oldest Muscadet tasting experience by quite a few years (six, to be precise, having tasted the 1982 not that long ago).
Last year I spent a whole day at the Salon focused on Savennières, alongside all my other usual ‘visits’; this gave me a fine opportunity to really get to grips with this appellation, to understand the different styles of wine. I still need to embody these thoughts in a new guide to the appellation, something that I will endeavour to do this year. I also spent some time with some of the new blood in Montlouis, including Xavier Weisskopf and Lise et Bertrand Jousset. This year I’m not so sure what main focus should be, although I am leaning towards (a) Chaume/Quarts de Chaume/Bonnezeaux – which would help me update and expand my guide to Anjou along with my Savennières experiences from last year, or (b) Sancerre – to help me understand, as I did with Savennières, the different styles; although here it would reflect terroir more than winemaking, as I wrote in my The New Sancerre post from the end of last week. Maybe I’ll do both. I’m also open to suggestions – add them to the comments below.
In addition, it was my hope to try and add some new profiles to the site based on recently tasted wines I have enjoyed, such as Domaine du Mortier. Like a number of the smaller, more organic, biodynamic or ‘natural’ domaines, however, the Boisard brothers of Domaine du Mortier don’t seem to exhibit at the Salon. I could have caught them at the first ever Salon Professionnel Vignerons Bio de Loire…..but that was last week, an off-event cast adrift by the shift of the Salon back one week, about which I wrote in Hints to InterLoire on the 2012 Salon. If InterLoire see that as a victory (Mortier and the Bio Salon aren’t engaged with InterLoire, who seem to regard such domaines and off-events as competing rather than enhancing) then that is a peculiarly small, narrow-minded, insular and self-destructive approach to marketing.
And one last thing; this year the Salon’s blog trophy is limited to those who write about/for wine bars. Which, to me, seems typically narrow-minded. I’m beginning to have a lot of sympathy for the recently resigned François Chidaine.
Next week my usual updates will be replaced with blog posts as I report on my activities at the Salon (hence my homepage makeover this week, with my new links to ‘recent blog posts’). If all goes well, and none of the airports or train stations I will be passing through on my way to Angers have been closed by snow, then I’ll be able to report on my first visits maybe sometime tomorrow.