Friday, 17 January 2014

The Loire - Day 5

Thursday 12th
The view from the hotel
The following morning was the last early tasting of the trip at Domaine Joseph Mellot.  Originating from the same great family history and winemaking experience as Alphonse Mellot, Joseph Mellot went his own way in 1969 creating his own domaine. His son Alexandre continued the strive for quality until his tragic early death. Since then his wife Catherine has continued the work and success of this domaine.

The domaine has expanded into other Loire appellations such as Coteaux du Giennois, Reuilly and Menetou Salon. This diversity has allowed us to have great success with the Joseph Mellot Réserve Prestige Sauvignon Blanc blend, a Val de Loire appellation wine made with 500 years of Sancerre winemaking know how! 

We dropped in on the Pierre Prieur family back in Verdigny; you must to get the right Prieur as all the Prieur families have a domaine of some sort! Domaine Pierre Prieur, a 10th generation winemaking family, makes the best and we found the current generation Bruno and brother Thierry busy in the cellar. These guys live for the domaine and the organised and spotless cellar is full of superb 2013 Sancerre, each vat being a different vineyard and carefully marked with the exact terroir and all made accordingly, every single vat a vital piece of the final blend jigsaw.  

Their father emerged for the tasting of the bottled 2012 up in the tasting room and the wines have a beautiful purity. We also discovered a Gold-medal-winning 2010 red Pinot Noir. These guys are so modest and don’t make a song and dance; they really do just let the wines speak for themselves!
The Prieurs

The news that SNCF had decided to strike today threw all plans of me getting back to Bordeaux by train and Tony and Abi to London via the Eurostar up in the air! But we had one more visit we certainly were not going to miss under any circumstances: Tony’s oldest friend in the Loire, Michel Thomas! 

Michel was Tony’s first contact in this region and today his son Laurent runs the winemaking. The next generation is also coming into the wine trade with Michel’s two grandsons now working in the industry; one in Saint-Emilion the other in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  We tasted through the vats of the excellent 2013 Domaine wines including the complex ‘Cuvee Silex’ before being shown down into the warm vaulted cellar where Madame Thomas had put on an early lunch of home-made savoury tarts and quiches including plenty of local cheeses! We were joined by Tony’s old friend and neighbours of the Thomas’, the Riffault family. A wonderful ambience of stories and laughter was the absolute perfect way to end a fabulous wine trek through the most beautiful valley in France. 
In the cellar with the Thomas family

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