Philippe Alliet, 2019 Update

A little more than a decade ago I wandered into the great tasting hall of the Salon des Vins de Loire, the annual wine fair which showcases everything vinous the Loire Valley has to offer, for the very first time. I was surrounded by a seething horde of journalists, buyers and sommeliers, not to mention a number of eager and often vocal enthusiasts who seemed, year-in, year-out, to successfully blag a pass to this press-and-trade-only event. Indeed, everybody who was anybody in the Ligérian world of wine was there.

Although I did not realise it at that moment, this was something of a heyday for this salon. At the time it was a three-day event, with an attendance so strong the stands – some of which were complex and sturdy affairs which towered high above our heads – spilled out of the main hall, also filling the smaller hall next door, as well as the foyer that joined the two. Today though, for numerous reasons which I will not explore in detail here, it is a much smaller affair, which was pruned back to just two days some years ago. Some of the region’s most famous names such as Domaine Huet and Famille Bourgeois deserted it in favour of other events, and most of those skyscraper stands have long disappeared.

Philippe Alliet

But that’s another matter, and back in 2009 there were no such signs of decline. I weaved my way through the crowd which would put today’s attendance figures to shame, making a zigzag line down the aisles and across the rows until, on the far side of the great hall, I arrived at my target. The first wines I was intent upon tasting were those of Philippe Alliet; he was pouring four cuvées from the 2006 and 2007 vintages, and my original report from that tasting – my Philippe Alliet 2009 Update – is still present on this site.

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