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Announcing WBW24: Drink Loire Whites With Vinography

wbw_icon.jpg August marks the second anniversary of the blogosphere's virtual wine tasting event known as Wine Blogging Wednesday. I can remember when its founder, Lenn e-mailed me to ask whether I thought people would even participate in such an event! At the time I had no idea, but I gamely signed up to host the second ever version of the event. Now after two years we're still regularly getting twenty to forty participants every month.

The themes have ranged far and wide, from esoteric to simple, but my favorites are always the straightforward appellation tastings. So with that in mind I'm pleased to announce the theme for the 24th Wine Blogging Wednesday: White Wines from the Loire Valley. On August 2nd, 2006 I invite you to drink and review a white wine from the Loire. Any price, any appellation, any year. Send me a link to your blog post when it goes up, and I'll happily include you in the roundup. If you don't have a blog but want to participate anyway, send me your review via e-mail.

Why the Loire? For one, I think it's one of the most underrated wine regions of France. There are very few critics or major wine magazines that spend a lot of time and energy focusing on the region, which is quite varied in its wine production. The Loire is, of course, home to the famous Sauvignon Blancs of Sancerre and Menetou-Salon, but it holds so much more. There are Chenin Blancs from Savennieres, Pinot Noir from Sancerre, Cabernet Franc from Chinon; sparkling fresh Muscadets; sweet Vouvrays, tart Gamays, and more. This month, we'll be looking at the whites, of which there are many.

The two stars of the region are undoubtedly Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, and I would encourage everyone who participates to consider seeking out the latter, especially if you don't have much experience with the region. While Sauvignon Blanc is grown elsewhere quite well and to much acclaim, there is pretty much nowhere else in the world that produces Chenin Blanc of the quality that you can find in the Loire. But if you can't find a Chenin Blanc, find there are plenty of others to choose from including some of the best Sauvignon Blanc on the planet. Whatever you choose, chill it down and enjoy it in your Northern Hemisphere Summer, or your Southern Hemisphere Spring.

If you're interested in learning more about the appellations and wines of the Loire, I encourage you to visit the reasonably good site put up by the Loire Valley Wine Bureau.

We'll see you online on Wednesday August 2nd.

Comments (22)

Tyler T wrote:
07.12.06 at 9:36 AM

Is it a faux pas to send a link before August 2nd. Our tasting group recently did a Vouvray tasting and the highlights are posted here:http://www.vinesnwines.org/?p=54

I love Loire Valley white wine, particulary the Savvy. Enjoy everyone!

eduardo lima wrote:
07.12.06 at 10:32 AM

For me Frisco oisters with a Sancerre, please.

Great wine blog. I have one, in portuguese.


07.12.06 at 12:53 PM

Alder: GREAT choice. My wine mentor turned me on to Loire whites back in the 1980s, and I have more whites in my cellar from the Loire than from any other region -- almost all chenin-blanc based wines that range from bone-dry Savennieres to nectar-like Vouvrays. All are amazingly long-lived, and are sold at a fraction of the cost of the best white Burgs and Sauternes. This WBW should be a fine way to celebrate the second anniversary ... Congratulations, Lenn, and thank you Alder!

Mark Fisher

Lance wrote:
07.12.06 at 2:11 PM

I found this blog and to be honest I don’t know much about wine but I would love to learn. I don’t really blog but after I saw the posting by Mark Fisher I thought I would.
I really like the notion of a wine mentor, would anyone mind taking me underneath there wings and creating a 23 year old connoisseur?

Joel wrote:
07.12.06 at 3:37 PM

I agree that the Loire is a wonderful region of underappreciated (in North America) wines.

However, I do not feel that your grape recommendations above are complete without mention of the less than noble but always interesting, rare Romorantin grape from Cour Cheverny. This wonderful grape makes wines with strapping acidity and a flavor profile that makes me wonder if it is not a cross of Sauvignon blanc and Chenin blanc. It is great with food, extremely refreshing and contains flavor profiles that are oh-so-familiar but not quite so. Philippe Tessier appears to be one vitner dedicated to preventing this grape, which I have read is only grown in Cour Cheverny in the Loire and nowhere else on the planet, from extinction. Try his 2002 Les Sables for a excellent introduction to Romorantin.

While "ROMO" is not thought of as one of the noble whites in the Loire, I often prefer it for it's refereshing qualities and great price/value ratio. Any Loire tasting would be incomplete without tracking down a bottle for comparison, if for no other reason than to fool the wine snobs at a blind tasting. Believe me that only a true wine GOD would come up with a blind ID on Romo. I hope someone is able to locate some new Romorantin's that might be added to the few available in North America.

Alder wrote:
07.12.06 at 9:05 PM


Thanks for the thoughtful comments! I haven't had any Romorantin, so I will look for it.

Alder wrote:
07.12.06 at 9:20 PM


The best way for you to learn is to find a tasting group or even an informal class in your area. Remote wine mentoring can only go so far. Of course I recommend you read Vinography every day ;-)

Here’s an article I wrote a while back about educating yourself in wine: http://www.vinography.com/archives/2005/10/messages_in_a_bottle_the_5_sta.html

Good luck.

Lance wrote:
07.13.06 at 7:04 AM

Thank you for sending me that article, I found it to be a little more encompassing then my knowledge would allow. As you run this blog and wrote the article I assume you know a significant amount about wine, but does knowing about topography and geology really play that much of a part about knowing which is going to be a good year?

As of late I have been using this book my mother gave me as a gift, some ten dollar wine guide she bought from her book club called parkers wine buyers guide, for the price I wasn’t going to ask her to return it but I feel overwhelmed when I open up the book. Could you recommend some easy reading for me?

Alder wrote:
07.13.06 at 8:54 AM


Parker's Wine Buyers Guide is a buying guide not an educational book. It’s no wonder you find it confusing. You need something introductory.

On the simplest end of the spectrum you could try Wine For Dummies, which is actually a perfectly fine introduction. Or for something a little more sophisticated, try Andrea Robinson's Great Wines Made Simple.

Lance wrote:
07.14.06 at 6:51 AM

Thank you to everyone for your help, I decided to go with Great Wines Made Simple; I have an aversion to the Dummies series.

Surprisingly it wasn’t too bad in price; I got it for less than $20.
Anyway last night I went out to dinner and we ordered a bottle of Yellow Tail Pinot Noir, I have never had the Pinot as I am partial to Merlot.

None the less after the second bottle I can say it was very pleasant.

Does anyone have an opinion on pinot as well as Yellow tail it self?

Joel wrote:
07.16.06 at 8:30 PM


Yellow Tail is the number one imported brand in the US today. It kind of started the cute Ozzie animal on the label craze. I think they probably make decent wine for the price and are a good way for beginners to start to learn what tastes good them. But like Hearty Burgundy (my intro to wine) or 2 Buck Chuck, you will likely outgrow the label pretty quickly and move on to the real juice, as long as your budget will allow it.

Look for one step up the price rung to expand your taste profile and also look to less know varietals that can often be had for a good price. German Kabinett, Aussie and Austrian Rieslings, California Zinfandels (not the white kind) and Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand might give you more experience without breaking the budget.

Lance wrote:
07.18.06 at 12:00 PM

Thank you for the recommendations, I think you might be right as to spoiling myself on yellow tail. I haven’t tried anything else lately but I am open to trying the Austrian Rieslings, I think that might be good for me. (just a gut feeling) I know that wine can become an expensive undertaking so fortunately I am prepared and able to embark on it.

I do have a question though, I was always led to believe that a zinfandel is white wine; I was wholly unaware that it was also a red. What does it taste like and any suggestions on a good brand and year?

As always thank you for the help and if anyone else has an opinion or a favorite beginner wine I would be more than happy to hear and appreciate the tutelage.

Joe wrote:
07.25.06 at 10:12 AM


I kind of think red zins from Ridge, Ravenswood, Rosenblum, Turley can be about as good as the grape gets. I was a huge Ridge fan but either they have drifted or my tastes have over the last two or three years and I do not think they are nearly as good as they were few years back. I still recommend them but am not as big a fan as in the past.

In fact, I think zinfandel, in general, is in a down phase across the board these days. I have attended ZAP, the annual Zinfandel Advocates and Producers festival in San Francisco for the last four or five years. The last couple it feels like the outstanding zins are few and far between. Rockpile Vineyard, which several producers make wine from including Rosenblum, and anything from Lodi seem to be the only places I find consistently firing the last couple of years.

That being said, Seghesio, Cline and Dry Creek Vineyards are three producers who I think are doing a good job with the grape at a fair price. Rosenblum also has some attractive price points on some of their zins, God he makes a bunch of them.

On riesling, you are right, the Austrians can be expensive. However, try some of the value plays from Australia or Washington if the Austrians break the budget. One other hint, look for closeouts or wines that distributors are dropping for real value. I have been buying cases of such closeouts from Wine Discount Center in Chicago and Winex in California at literally half price. I recently bought several cases of well respected Eichinger Austrian Rieslings for less than $12 a bottle. I think this was 1/2 the original retail.

Happy Hunting.

garry clark wrote:
08.01.06 at 10:40 AM

Alder - heres my contri for WBW 24. Sorry its a day early but Im not going to have access to my pc tomorrow as theres some rewiring being done in my office.


enjoy and good luck!!

08.02.06 at 11:25 AM

Just wanted to give you the Link to my Post for Wine Blogging Wednesday #24.

Here it is

Let me know when you post the wrap-up.

Take care.


08.02.06 at 8:16 PM


Here's my WBW post:


Though, I have to take exception to the Neophyte, Lance, and his disdain for Dummies Guides. Since my wife is an editor for the consumer Dummies Guides, I think they are fine introductions. And, after my Loire Valley experience, I'm going to have her bring home the French Wine for Dummies, because I have a lot to learn.

All the best and congrats to Lenn and Vinography for leading the wine blog charge then, now and likely in the future.


Whit Stevens wrote:
08.03.06 at 12:09 AM
James Jory wrote:
08.03.06 at 1:22 PM


First time participating in WBW! Really enjoyed the theme.

I'm still working on setting up my blog but my entry can be found here:



Rebeca wrote:
08.04.06 at 2:56 PM

My (very late) contribution is here. Thanks Alder!

Jennifer wrote:
08.05.06 at 10:00 AM

I'm even later and I'll admit my husband did the tasting, not me. But I did buy the bottle on Wednesday! =)


Ben wrote:
09.04.06 at 11:18 AM

Hi, I have been reading your excellent blog with interest. I live in the UK and am planning a trip to the Loire valley to celebrate my partners birthday in a couple of weeks. Could you possibly recommend a book of wines of the Loire? Perhaps Adventures on the wine route, or could you recommend something more specific? Many thanks, Ben.

Alder wrote:
09.04.06 at 12:42 PM


Best book: A Wine and Food Guide to the Loire by Jacqueline Friedrich.

Have a great time !

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