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Domaine de la Bergerie Crémant de Loire Préambule NV

Domaine de la Bergerie Crémant de Loire Préambule NV

My latest Weekend Wine is another to file under ‘wines I drink a lot of but often forget to write about’. This is a crime I commit most often with sparkling wines from the Loire Valley, as I confess at times I have been guilty of working my way through six or a dozen bottles (not all in one evening, obviously), but writing perhaps only one or two tasting notes. If I have already written the wine up, perhaps during a visit to taste with the vigneron (and let’s face it, the great majority of Loire Valley wines I drink at home I have already tasted in this manner), then I may even be guilty of not writing a note at all.

This is not a felony I have committed this week though, as I report here on my latest bottle of Préambule, from Yves Guégniard and family, proprietors of Domaine de la Bergerie in Anjou. It is, admittedly, the tenth cork I have popped on a dozen bottles I purchased at the domaine in June last year; I think this is the point at which I ask the court to take other offences into consideration.

I first tasted Préambule back in 2012 (was it really that long ago?) during a visit to La Table de Bergerie, when I had dinner with Yves Guégniard, Claude Papin and Vincent Ogereau, when it was based on the 2009 vintage (although officially non-vintage, it is always based on a single harvest, with no use of reserve wines), and I was impressed by its fresh, expressive and perfumed summer-fruit nose. That first vintage was a blend of the two Cabernets and Grolleau, 50% of each, and the ripe red fruits of the warm vintage shone through. In more recent years it has tended towards more Cabernet, one-third each Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, one-third Grolleau.

The fermentation is arrested at about 24 g/l unfermented sugar, before bottling for a second fermentation. Once completed the wine is left sur lattes for between 12 and 24 months, depending on the vintage, before being disgorged. It has, from the outset, always been a zero-dosage cuvée. The wine tasted here originated in the 2014 vintage, although as always the Domaine de la Bergerie Crémant de Loire Préambule does not declare this on the label (nevertheless, eagle-eyed readers may be able to make out a clue to this fact in the image above). In the glass it has a pale pink hue, and a plentiful effervescent bead which appears very youthful. The fruit is really quite expressive on the nose, red cherry and strawberry-leaf fruits, with a perfumed, liquorice-laced freshness. The palate, meanwhile, feels rather more reticent, restrained, the fruit more cherry stone than cherry, wrapped up in a leafy freshness, carried on a bright, lean, zero-dosage texture. Very cleanly defined, tense and acid-fresh, with a still vigorous mousse. While this gives a very immediate pleasure now, I can’t deny I think it could age well, over three-to-five years maybe. The question is, will I be able to keep my hands off the remaining two bottles to find out for myself? Probably not. 90/100 (30/4/18)

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