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Loire Valley

Many favourite names beloved of UK consumers come from here: stalwarts of the market like Sancerre, Pouilly-Fume and Muscadet. Depending on personal preference, these wines, crisp and appetizing though they are supposed to be, can tread a thin line between one person's refreshing and another's downright tart. We like mouthwatering, that tang of fresh acidity, the incisive zing that cleanses and polishes up the palate, but the wine must have varietal fruit. It's not enough merely to be sharp and if you buy such wines cheaply it's the flavour that diminishes, not the acid content: unripe Muscadet or dilute Sancerre can be a deeply unpleasant experience. That's why we stick with skilled individual growers with fine track records. Alain Cailbourdin's Pouilly-Fume expresses the minerally difference as it should be between this district and neighbouring Sancerre, the hoped-for green gooseberry character of which is beautifully defined by Domaine Andre Dezat. The Cabernet Franc is a delight, loaded with grassy fruit.


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