If there is one thing I have come to realise over the last few years it is this; no matter how deeply you dive into the wines of the Loire Valley, it is impossible to know every vigneron, and to taste every wine. It is difficult enough trying to form a complete and comprehensive understanding of the big-name appellations, such as Vouvray or Chinon, and yet even if this were achieved it would still leave huge landscapes of vines never encountered, and many thousands of wines never tasted, because you haven’t yet stepped into more nebulous appellations such as those that cover the generic, region-wide vineyards of Anjou and Touraine.
I suspect that many drinkers dipping their toes into the wines of the Loire Valley for the first time would happily overlook these appellations, content with the belief that smaller appellations of grander repute, such as Savennières, will give better wines. I would go so far as to say that if you are willing to pick your way through an appellation such as Touraine (with its various suffixes, such as Touraine Noble Joué or Touraine Azay le Rideau), or indeed Anjou, then you are clearly a true Loire Valley enthusiast. And having such an adventurous spirit will doubtless pay dividends. Touraine is blessed with some prestigious terroirs, including various slopes of limestone and clay along the banks of the Cher, and these give rise to some excellent wines, from domaines such as the sadly-defunct Clos Roche Blanche, Noëlla Morantin, Jean-Marc Biet and Clos Roussely, among others. Another to add to this shortlist is undoubtedly Domaine Mérieau.
This long-established family estate, originally more commonly known as the Vignoble des Bois Vaudons, has been in the family since 1886, having been passed down through at least four generations during this time. I would think, like the majority of domaines in this region, during the very early years the domaine was a polycultural smallholding where vines were tended alongside other crops. Only during the 20th century would the land have been given over, gradually, to the vine.
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