Noëlla Morantin, 2014 Update

Over the past year or two I seem to have been tasting and drinking more wines from the Viticole Sologne than ever before. This is an interesting and yet poorly defined region of the Loire Valley which gives us a number of esoteric varietal delights, the poster-child for which is surely Romorantin, found first and foremost in the Cour-Cheverny appellation. This is just one of several unusual grape varieties that call this particular region home, others being Menu Pineau and Meslier-Saint-François, to name just two. And there is a wide range of styles produced here, everything from pure and minerally to ‘natural’ and oxidative, still and pétillant naturel. And in a small number of cases, quality can be surprisingly high. No wonder the region has come on to my radar.

Noëlla Morantin

If you are unfamiliar with the Sologne, it lies east of Tours, and is an ancient marshland dotted with lakes and rivers. Through it run the Cosson, Beuvron and Sauldre, the first two draining into the Loire to the north, the third into the Cher, to the south. Because it was so marshy the region was once largely uninhabited, and rich in wild game, which explains why François I built Château de Chambord – his ‘hunting lodge’ of palatial proportions – here, close to Blois, in the early 16th century. During the 19th century under the direction of Napoleon III the land was improved, largely though the planting of pine trees, and today the region is more forest, dotted with little villages, than swamp. The land was increasingly cultivated, and this included the planting of vineyards.

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