It is now one week on from my trip to Angers for the Renaissance tasting and Salon des Vins de Loire, the latter an event which – if I have been doing my sums correctly (no guarantees offered, obviously) – has been going for 31 years. I hope there will be a 32nd Salon, next year (more thoughts on that at a later date). This week, however, I am in Paris, for a brand new salon in its first year. Vinovision is billed as an international salon for cool-climate wines, or “vins septentrionaux” as the locals put it. And that means, alongside all the expensive fizzy stuff from Reims, and the expensive unfizzy stuff from between Dijon and Lyon, there is a strong showing from the Loire Valley.
So after returning from Angers last week, and then making a one-day dash down to London for a 2007 Bordeaux tasting with BI, on Saturday I flew out to Paris. I have based myself in a hotel not far from the salon (which is in the Paris Expo at Porte de Versailles, if you are interested – very easy to get to from the UK via Charles de Gaulle airport, so it is amazing I have seen only one other UK journalist here). The tasting runs from Sunday to Tuesday. And with over 260 exhibitors from the Loire Valley, if the Vinovision website is to be believed (I decided, rather than count them, that I would take them at their word), there has been plenty for me to do.
Sunday was a mix of tasting at domaines I had to skip in Angers because of lack of time, such as Domaine de la Taille aux Loups (tasted with Jacky and Jean-Philippe Blot, the latter top left); domaines completely new to me, such as Adèle Rouzé, who is based in Quincy (top right), and domaines who have stopped attending the Salon des Vins de Loire, such as Champalou (tasted with Céline, bottom left) and Henri Bourgeois (tasted with Arnaud, bottom right). Reconnecting with domaines where I haven’t been able to visit and taste for some time may well turn out to be a theme of this salon, although it is also exciting to taste with people I haven’t met before, such as Adèle.
It was also a delight to bump into some old faces, such as Marc Thibault of Château de Villargeau, who I haven’t seen for years and years, as well as some new faces, including Harmon Skurnik of the eponymous NY importer, and Chris Hardy, who isn’t really a new face but he does have a new hat on, as this ex-Majestic employee is taking on the Loire-based courtier business so long associated with Charles and Philippa Sydney.
Looking at my list of planned tastings for today (Monday) or Tuesday, I think by the end of these three days I will have expanded my knowledge of Quincy, Châteaumeillant, Sancerre and the Coteaux de Giennois considerably. Not to mention Bourgueil, Saumur and Touraine. Let’s see how today goes – must dash!