I recently got invited to a Loire based tasting and lunch at Cafe Nicole in the Novotel. There were a number of interesting wines and great food at the event. But what I found particularly interesting was that the winemaker for Ackerman/Remy Pannier Pierre Charon is doing some interesting things one would not expect from the French. He is intentionally stepping outside the rigidity of the Appellation system and innovating. This includes Blanc du Noir, a white wine made from a Cab Franc (usually a red wine).
Bubblies made outside the Champagne region of France can not legally be called Champagne. In the Loire region (as well as others) they are called Cremant and are made from Chennin blanc, chardonnay and cab franc, local grapes to the Loire Valley appellation. Two of the Cremants were lovely. The first an Ackerman Cremant du Loire priced around $18 was crisp, dry and very food friendly with some nice acidity on the finish. The second Cuvee Ambrose was also nice and crisp and dry but had a higher amount of chardonnay, saw some oak and was longer on the lees so for me was much more reminiscent of a Champagne style bubbly. They expect this one to come in around $22.95. Sadly at this time neither are available in Ontario (not even by the case). Like champagne the Cremants are non-vintage meaning they blend grapes from different years to make a consistent product.
They also brought an oak aged (aged for a year) Chennin blanc they called Samur blanc 2015. With an expected price of $19.95 that had some almost chard like flavors. Some apple/pear notes along with some vanilla. On the medium length finish the wine displays some lovely food friendly acidity. It was nice and dry and would pair perfectly with scallops. I would give it an 88 or so. Sadly, again, at this time it is not available in Ontario (not even by the case). This was my favorite white of the event.
There was a nice Cab Franc 2014 Secret des Vignes Chino 2014. A lovely red berry varietal cab franc nose, smooth mid palate to match along with some nice tannins, acidity and dryness. There was a hint of peppery/spicy notes on the medium length finish. I would give the wine an 88+. A very approachable cab franc that would be food friendly and pair well with red meats. Sadly, again, at this time it is not available in Ontario (not even by the case). This was my favorite white of the event.
I can only hope that in the near future Eurovintage are able to bring some of these lovely wines into Ontario!