La Tour Saint-Martin, 2018 Update

Earlier this year I published a long overdue update on Domaine Pellé, without a doubt one of the leading domaines in the Menetou-Salon appellation. Working to a very similar level of quality as the Pellé family, and also turning out a broad range of impressive oak-vinified Sauvignon-based whites and ageworthy Pinot Noir, is Bertrand Minchin. Bertrand and his wines have, for a variety of reasons, made more regular appearances on these pages over the years. It was through regular tastings of his wines that I came to understand the synergy between Sauvignon Blanc and oak in the Loire Valley, and just how important it is to allow this style some bottle age if it is to be fully appreciated. This was why, when I hosted an Oaked Sauvignon Blanc tasting a few years ago, I made sure that La Tour Saint-Martin was one of the eight Loire Valley domaines I chose to face down the competition, from Bordeaux.

La Tour Saint-Martin

Bertrand (pictured above) has had an exceedingly tough time of it in recent years, as have his peers in the Menetou-Salon appellation. The harvest was all but wiped out by frost in the 2016 vintage, so much so that I was surprised, on this encounter, to meet two cuvées of Menetou-Salon from this vintage, one white and one red. Each were made with super-low yields, Bertrand having picked the tiny quantities of fruit that survived the April frost. For the most part, however, this tasting focused on older vintages in bottle, namely 2015 and 2014, as well as a quick look at a few 2017 samples from barrel.

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