Loire 2017 at Three Years
I feel I should probably open this review of the 2017 vintage in the Loire Valley at three years (well, three and a bit – I will come to that in a minute) with some erudite comments on the nebulous character of this, the most complex of all of France’s wine regions. Or maybe, in an attempt to imbue it with a feeling of relevance, I should make some quip (of perhaps questionable taste) suggesting Chenin Blanc can cure all Covid-19 related ills. It’s not true of course, but can you imagine the new sense of urgency it would bring to the #DrinkChenin campaign?
You may be relieved to learn, however, that both wise words and wisecracks currently elude me.
The truth is no words or witticisms can break through the sense of relief I feel at finally being able to publish this review. It has been in the pipeline for too many months, continuously sidelined by other more pressing tastings mostly featuring not Bonnezeaux, or Bourgueil, but Bordeaux. The first wave carried samples of the 2018 Bordeaux vintage from all the top châteaux (well, most of them) to my door, and these demanded prompt tasting and writing up, delaying this report (and indeed everything else). Then came what I might call a micro-wave – more of a ripple really, but still close to 150 bottles – of 2018 Cru Bourgeois samples which were similarly tasted and reviewed. The Loire remained on hold.
And then came the tsunami, close to nine hundred barrel samples of 2020 Bordeaux arrived, on my doorstep, some of them driven door-to-door by the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux’s very own delivery driver, no doubt paid in cases of the 2013 vintage. With that many bottles piled up I was soon on first-name terms with the staff at my local recycling centre. Tom and Gerry (no, seriously, these are their names) would give a nod and a wave each time they saw me pull in, the surprisingly capacious boot of my twenty-year-old Toyota Celica laden with yet another 250 empty bottles wearing the grandest of labels.
“Oooh, the parties you must have”, was the usual comment from Tom. Not wanting to break his imaginings of my wild and hedonistic lifestyle, I confess I never put him straight.