Loire 2018 at Four Years: Red Wines

If you had to express an opinion on whether the Loire Valley was more famous for its whites or its reds, you would probably say the former. And yet here, in the third instalment of my Loire 2018 at Four Years tasting report, I take a look at 27 red wines from this vintage, seven more wines than made it into my report on the whites.

Well, that’s 2018 for you.

In this report I take a look at red wines from the length and breadth of the Loire Valley. Not for the first time, the dominant appellation is Chinon, but there is broad representation from other regions, from the red wines of the Nantais, all the way up to the wines of the Massif Central, represented by the Côte Roannaise appellation. The domaines featured include Philippe Alliet, Bernard Baudry, Jérémie Mourat, Domaine de la Pépière (not a mistake, just in case you thought Rémi and Gwénaëlle made only Muscadet), Domaine Ogereau, Arnaud Lambert, Domaine des Roches Neuves, Yannick Amirault, Domaine de la Butte and Domaine Sérol, plus a handful of others.

The Wines

While with the white wines it was clear which domaines had really succeeded, raising their heads above those of their peers in this vintage, picking out a favourite wine or favourite domaine from this line-up is more of a challenge. The reason for this is simple; quality across-the-board is very high, and there are many successful wines here. Some wines are delicious and ready to drink now, but there are also a number of wines which reflect the region’s potential as a source of age-worthy red wine, wines which clearly demand time in the cellar to show their full potential.

Loire 2018

Looking to Chinon first, I was hugely impressed by the 2018 L’Huisserie from Philippe Alliet; it is an iron fist within a velvet glove, the firm structure of the vintage dressed in sweet fruit and welcoming texture. This is clearly wine for the ages, and the alcohol level is modest taking into account the character of the vintage. Indeed, if we take the figure presented on the label at face value (there is of course a 0.5% leeway in either direction), it comes in below a number of the alcohol levels in my 2018 white report.

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