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Vincent Ricard Touraine Le Petiot 2013

Vincent Ricard Touraine Le Petiot 2013

I’m fresh back from the Bordeaux primeurs, checking out the 2014 Bordeaux vintage in all its questionable glory. And, perhaps unsurprisingly, the first thing I did on my return was pop the cork on something from the Loire Valley. Well, that’s not strictly true, the first thing I did was grab a quick bite to eat, sans vino, crumple on a heap on the sofa for half an hour, before heading up for an early night. Even when you avoid all the schmoozing, the parties, the boozy lunches and dinners and all the mutual psychological stroking, as I do during the primeurs, the week is still a pretty tiring affair. There’s a lot of driving; last Monday, for example, it took me over two hours to get to Château Haut-Brion, although most of that was crawling along the Rocade, Bordeaux’s ring road, in a traffic jam caused by a rain-soaked rush-hour accident. There were some really early starts, and even without the parties there were also one or two finishes that were later than planned.

It was also a miserable and wet week in Bordeaux. The skies were grey and drizzly for much of the time, although it brightened up a little as the week progressed, although Saturday was dull again. Back here in Scotland, however, it has been warm and sunny all weekend, which is delightful for drinking and eating sur terrasse. Sunday kicked off with a few easy going bottles, including a Moussamoussettes from Domaine Mosse (not so much a pop of the cork, more a pop of the crown cap), and a selection of wines from the 2002 vintage for a forthcoming 2002 Loire report. But before I got to those, I hit upon this fellow, from Vincent Ricard in Touraine. I visited Vincent at his domaine in late 2013 but never wrote it up, mainly because at the time I only tasted musts and fermenting wines and nothing from bottle, and I simply haven’t tasted that many of his wines. So it was fascinating to taste this wine, from the same vintage as my visit.

Vincent Ricard Touraine Le Petiot 2013

Vincent Ricard is the fifth generation of his family to take over the running of the domaine, which lies very close to the course of the Cher. No prizes for guessing his specialty, which is Sauvignon Blanc, this variety accounting for over 12 hectares of his 17-hectare domaine, the remainder being divided between Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Côt. Vincent cut his teeth working with Philippe Alliet in Chinon before taking up his studies at the lycée viticole in Amboise, returning to work with Philippe again. Afterwards he worked a stage with Claude Levasseur (the uncle of François Chidaine) in Montlouis, before returning home to Touraine to take up the running of the family domaine with his father, Alain Ricard. This was back in 1999, and today Vincent holds the reins single-handed.

Le Petiot is the entry-level Sauvignon Blanc here, picked at a potential of 13º from vines aged 30 years on average, with a yield of 50 hl/ha. The fermentation is carried out at a cool temperature, followed by an élevage on the fine lees, 80% in cuve, but in order to add a little polish 20% sees an élevage, also on the fine lees, in older barrels which are at least three years of age. The 2013 Tourane Le Petiot has a very evocative nose, true to the variety, but with a richer, almost New World tinge to it reminiscent of creamed capsicum, spiced with orange zest and a slightly musky note in the background. The palate is fresh, cool, substantial, also slightly musky like the nose, pithy too though, with creamed orange-zest vibrancy and weight combined. This is an impressive Sauvignon for what it is, showing a very square frame, with a good pithy-grippy length. It would make a very fine transition into the wines of the Loire Valley for those more used to the riper, more exuberant style Sauvignon Blanc offers from warmer climes. And it’s fine for a sunny Easter weekend in the garden for anybody. 15.5/20 (6/4/15)

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