Lazio’s Cooperativa Agricola Cincinnato

cincinnato_vineyards with view
The region around Rome is known as Lazio, and it’s full of grapes and subregions> you’ve most likely never heard of. I can remember traveling in Italy with my sister in the summer of 1987 and landing in Frascati with the son of the proprietor who ran the little hotel we were staying at in Rome and his friend, Dario. They took us in a tiny, navy blue Fiat up to this lookout point in the hills surrounding Rome. It was sort of a cross between a German biergarten (with the hanging lights and picnic tables) and lots of delicious Italian food trucks. We loaded up on several share plates, got a pitcher of Frascati and had dinner overlooking Rome… one of the best memories of that trip! It’s only now that I’m in the wine business, that I know that Frascati is in Lazio and that it’s smack in between Rome and Cori, a village about an hour and a half southeast of Rome.

Most wines from Lazio don’t make it out of Lazio (including Frascati!), but J. Strecker Selections (our direct import company) has a new line from a co-op in the village of Cori and the surrounding vineyards. All three wines are lesser-known indigenous varietals (Bellone, Nero Buono & a Nero Buono blend) showing off the wonderful work coming from this area.

wine folly_lazio

First a little on Cori and this co-op:
Located about 90 minutes southeast of Rome (1 hour on the highway), the ancient town of Cori (with urban structures dating from the 5–6th centuries BC) is set among the olive groves and vineyards in the foothills of the Lepini Mountains. The village of Cori is pictured above; the winery, also located in Cori, is pictured below. As you can imagine, this town is permeated with ancient and medieval history. The winery gives the two wines in this month’s club the symbolic names of Castore & Pollùce in honor of the Temple of Castor and Pollux.

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Using the stamp: CINCINNATO MCMXLVII, Cooperativa Agricola Cincinnato was formed by a group of local farmers on the 13th of June 1947, with the purpose of processing and selling their own production. They named themselves in honor of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus, who led the Romans in battle against the Aequi in 458 BC. Following his victory, he refused honors and public offices in Rome, preferring to return to his land, which is said to have been in this area of Lazio.

Cincinnato currently has 550 hectares of land (100 of which are certified organic), and 130 member families committed to growing native grapes. The winery is also renowned for its environmental efforts including organic methods in the vineyards, a solar power system for independent power generation, and local distribution using natural gas-fueled vehicles.

Here’s a little about the 3 new wines:
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Cincinnato 2017 “Castore” Bellone
Lazio, Italy // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

100% Bellone. This white grape is grown in volcanic-clayey soil in the hills around Cori. It’s a brilliant straw yellow color with a delicate fruity nose, full of yellow peach & hawthorn. Fresh with mineral notes on the palate, it’s a delicious refreshing sipper (while you cook) or enjoy it with pasta and seafood dishes. Drink now to 2 years.

cincinnato_nero buono
Cincinnato 2016 “Pollùce” Nero Buono
Lazio, Italy // Reg $14.99 | Mixed Case $11.99

100% Nero Buono (vineyards pictured). Similar to the Bellone, the vineyards are located on the lavic hills around Cori. Aged for 12 months in stainless steel tanks then refined in bottle for 6 months before being released. Ruby red in color. Intense, fragrant nose full of red fruits — strawberries, red plums, bing cherries. Faint notes of leather and earth bookend the pleasant fruitiness of this wine. It’s not too acidic nor too tannic. Wonderful to sip and equally delicious with food. Enjoy with Bucatini all’Amatriciana, dishes with Roman gnochi, artichokes, oxtail stew and more. Drink now to 3 years.

cincinnato_nero buono_v2
Cincinnato 2016 “Raverosse” Cori Blend

Lazio, Italy // Reg $18.99 | Mixed Case $15.19

This wine is a blend of 50% Nero Buono di Cori (vineyards pictured) – 30% Montepulciano – 20% Cesanese. Note: Cesanese is a red grape variety originating in the Lazio region, featuring medium-sized, compact clusters with small berries. It yields a fragrant, velvety smooth wine. The blend has intense aromas of blueberries, raspberries & plum. Ripe aromas of blackberries, plums & Italian herbs. Medium-bodied and silky smooth. Ripe blue and black fruit flavors with peppery notes. Finishes long with hints of balsamic and herbs. Fine tannins. Jens says you can’t start the year with a more interesting wine! Pairings? Wouldn’t overpower a delicious homemade spaghetti alla carbonara but it could hold its own with something meatier such as oxtail stew. Drink now to 5 years.

These wines are great way to go wine exploring in the new year!

Cheers to 2019!
Julie Howe, Owner
Portalis Wine Shop & J. Strecker Selections

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Off the Beaten Path Varietals: Kerner

Castelfeder_Vernatch harvest_2014
Developed in 1929 in Lauffen, Germany by German grape breeder August Herold, Kerner has quickly become a popular varietal throughout Germany, Austria, and parts of Northern Italy. Herold crossed the varietals of Trollinger (also known as Schiava Grigia or Grauvernatsch depending on what part of the world you’re in; photo: Castelfeder Vernatsch harvest, 2014) with the classic Riesling grape.

Herold named his invented varietal after the poet Justinias Kerner, known for composing classic German drinking songs. Released for general cultivation in 1969, Kerner is one of the youngest commercially available varietals. It was firstly introduced to Germany, followed by Austria, Switzerland, and Italy (where it was introduced in the early 1970s). It’s now planted throughout the world in such places as: South Africa, British Columbia, England and Michigan.

Kerner is a very aromatic varietal and is easily paired with foods much like Riesling wines tend to be. This grape tends to be much more robust than Riesling however, making it a much more appealing grape to plant. Kerner has been known to survive temperatures below freezing in the winters and usually has larger yields. Kerner wines tend to have similar taste characteristics as Riesling wines (refreshing, with aromas of exotic fruits, strong spicy notes on the palate, and fruit forward), but it can have much lower acidity and a more rounded body than is typical of Riesling wine.

While easily paired with most dishes, Kerner is best served alongside light appetizers, salads, seafood, poultry, asparagus, or mild cheeses. Not surprisingly, Kerner is not easy to find in Seattle. We carry a lovely example from the Giovanett family of Weingut Castelfeder in Northern Italy. Ines Giovanett will be in Seattle at the end of February, and we will most assuredly taste this wine, so stay tuned for dates.

In the meantime, here are tasting notes for:
Label_IT_Castelfeder Kerner_no frame
Castelfeder Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti DOC “Lahn”

ALTO ADIGE (ITALY)
Reg $22.99 | INSIDER $21.99 | Mixed Case $17.59

Originally founded in 1970 by A. Giovanette, then taken over by his son, Günther Giovanett in 1985. Continuing in the same tradition as his father, Günther still has close contact with winegrowers, careful selection of the best production areas and well-aimed cultivation of choice varietals

Involved in every aspect of the winery: this passion for winemaking begins in the vineyard with the planting of the vines, advising and working with the winegrowers and continues through the harvest and gentle pressing of the grapes in the cellar up to the vinification of the wines and finally to their marketing. The result of this difficult but rewarding job is wine to be proud of.

Grapes: 100% Kerner
Viticulture: After a short skin contact period (4-8 hours) the grapes are pressed, decanted, and finally fermented separately in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures to retain classic regional qualities.
Alcohol: 13.5% vol.
Appearance: Straw yellow with green reflexes
Palate: Fresh & aromatic. This wine has a high acidity & a spicy aftertaste.

A Day with the Giovanett’s & Castelfeder Winery

Castelfeder_01

We arrived in the Cortina village square at dusk after driving over the Brenner Pass in Austria and then down through the Alps, over Bozen (Bolzano). There was an old castle ruin on top of a mountain peak every turn of the way. We were in the northern Italian region of Alto Adige, but the look and feel of the landscape and the architecture was Germanic.

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The next morning we met Ines Giovanett, daughter of Günther & Sandra Giovanett, the proprietors of the estate and sister of Ivan Giovanett, winemaker. She took us on a tour of their vineyards on the eastern side of the valley:

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Castelfeder_Aug 2013_Ines in wineyards with dog

The tour included such Castelfeder label landmarks as the stone on the “Rieder” Lagrein label and the bridge on the “Glener” Pinot Nero label (on our next shipment):

Castelfeder_Aug 2013_label_stone on fence

Castelfeder_Aug 2013_Annelie on the bridge_square

After our morning tour, we met Ines’ (very fit 90+ year old) grandparents who live in a house on the property, and then we settled down to lunch on the terrace.

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After melon & parma ham, garden tomatoes with mozzarrela & basil, vitello tonnato (thinly sliced veal with a tuna & anchovy sauce, spaghetti with tomato sauce, pasta with homemade garden pesto, and ice cream for dessert (and tasting through the wines in their lineup!!), we headed out through the apple orchards on the valley floor to their winery, just off the main village square in Cortina.

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Ines gave us a great tour, finishing in the Castelfeder cellar:

Castelfeder_Aug 2013_Ines in cellar

After saying good-bye & many thanks to Ines, we returned to our hotel for dinner…

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…and took some silly photos to remember the day:

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And then we ended our wonderful tour, full-circle, admiring the beautiful village square at dusk:

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We direct import (close to) the full Castelfeder line as well as their premium Burgum Novum line. All of the following wines are available at Portalis. As well, lovely Ines Giovanett will be in Seattle next week, so join us for a tasting next Thursday, October 24 (RSVP>) to hear the details of this extraordinary land & the wonderful wines it produces!

Castelfeder Pinot Biance “Vom Stein”
Castelfeder Pinot Grigio “15”
Castelfeder Kerner “Lahn”
Castelfeder Grauvernatsch/Schiava “Kegl”
Castelfeder Lagrein “Rieder”

Burgum Novum Pinot Nero Riserva
Burgum Novum Cabernet Riserva
Burgum Novum Lagrein Riserva

Cheers!
Julie, Co-Owner
Portalis Wines & J. Strecker Selections

Weingut Prechtl & a Trip to Austria’s Weinviertel

BLOG_Prechtl_sign

Portalis owner Jens Strecker & his family visited some of their producers in Italy & Austria this past summer. Julie (his wife & business partner) reported in on Weingut Prechtl:

On our way out of Austria, we passed through the Kamptal & Wachau Valleys, beautiful stretches along the Donau with vineyards straight up the steep slopes of the river valley and medieval castles on top of craggy mountains around every bend in the road. And as we drove through, Jens would point out wineries we used to carry: delicious wines, too expensive.

BLOG_Prechtl_farmland_square

Our drive out to the Prechtl’s didn’t look like this. Heading northwest out of Vienna until you’re about 10k short of the Czech border, you find relatively flat farmland with small rural villages. On the map, the DOC known as the Weinviertel (translates as Wine Quarter) looks huge, but you don’t really begin to see vineyards until you’re on the Weinstrasse about 10k short of the Czech border. Even when we arrived in our destination village of Zellerndorf, we didn’t see the magic until we spent the day with the Prechtl’s.

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Down at the end of the village road, just before you head into more rolling vineyards, is the entrance to their oasis, a beautiful Weingarten within the walls of the once functioning farmhouse that Franz Prechtl grew up in. From April thru September the Prechtl’s open their doors on Saturday from 10am to 7pm for guests to have a sit, taste their wines, eat some of their delicious homemade local foods (sausages cooked in Grüner Veltliner and black bread with different sorts of house schmalz). The garden was full of trees, blooming flowers and huge pots filled with Oleander. It had German-style biergarten tables and from the time we arrived for breakfast until we left mid-afternoon, it was packed. They told us that this is the fifth year that they’ve had their Weingarten and business is brisk with locals, tourists and a good number of visitors from Vienna (about an hour away) looking for a weekend getaway from the big city.

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Franz Prechtl (pictured above) is a big man, easily 6’5″ or 6’6″ and he’s serious about the little empire he’s building. He left home at 16 to attend a winemaking school combined with Abitur (German high school for university bound students) and was living in Vienna some years later when we met Petra Prechtl (6 years his junior and also from Zellerndorf) and they decided to return to the farm and make their living making wine. From this modest beginning, the Prechtl’s have risen to notoriety, receiving the honor of Austria’s Champion Grüner Veltliner with their 2012 Längen Gruener Veltliner at the annual Austrian wine competition known as SALON.

BLOG_Prechtl_wines_square

Weingut Prechtl was founded in 1839 by Karl Prechtl, whose original wine press and huge aging barrels are still in a cellar next to their Altenberg vineyard & a few yards down the road from the village church which was started in the 900’s and completed in the 1100’s. Franz clearly feels a strong connection to his land and his grapes. He’s not as interested in buying other people’s grapes as he is in acquiring more vineyards to grow his own. His philosophy in the vineyards is to let the grapes grow as naturally as possible and then to make accessible, juicy, delicious wine. He’s a serious guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously. That may be due in some part to the influence of his wife of 20 years, Petra (pictured with Franz below). She is a woman with a lot of personal warmth and a quick smile. She runs the business side of their wine business as well as leading the team in the Weingarten every Saturday.

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The Prechtl’s have a diverse line of whites (Grüner Veltliner, Sauvignon Blanc, Welschriesling, Riesling), reds (Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, St. Laurent, and blends of the 3), as well as a line of dessert wines and Pinot Noir bubbly. The Weinviertel is not picture-book experience that other Austrian wine regions provide, but it’s a wonderful look at real life wine production in northeastern Austria, and the Prechtl’s are a top-notch example of the stellar wines produced in the Weinveirtel & Austria as a whole! Importantly, too, as an insider-tip, these wines don’t carry the price tag of wines from better known areas and more famous producers. The Prechtl’s, with their hospitality, their beautiful Weingarten & their deep connection to their history and their land, make a worthy destination if you’re ever in the area.

BLOG_Prechtl_vineyards

In the meantime, here are the Prechtl wines that J. Strecker imports into Seattle. All are available at Portalis. It’s truly a stellar lineup:

Weingut Prechtl Classic Grüner Veltliner 2012
Weingut Prechtl Längen vom Löss Grüner Veltliner 2011
Weingut Prechtl Altenberg vom Urgestein Grüner Veltliner 2011
Weingut Prechtl alte Reben aus Löss Grüner Veltliner 2012 (arriving end of Sep 2013)
Weingut Prechtl Kirchfeld vom Löss Welschriesling 2011
Weingut Prechtl Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (arriving end of Sep 2013)

Weingut Prechtl Pinot Noir Sparkling Wine (arriving end of Sep 2013)
Weingut Prechtl Weinviertler Rotweincuvée (Reserve Red)
Weingut Prechtl 2010 Satzen (Zweigelt)

BLOG_Prechtl_Jens&Franz

Cheers to the great work that they are doing!
Julie

Alto Adige/Südtirol, Italy’s northernmost Region


Photo: Schloss Tirol bei Meran in Südtirol Herbert Ortner, 5 Aug 2005

Northern Italy is one region of Europe that has been home to a host of different cultural changes throughout history. Known by different names depending on which language you are speaking, this northernmost region of Italy is also a renowned wine region. Even though the region is technically located within the country of Italy, Alto Adige inhabitants most commonly speak German.

First named during the Napolonic area as the “Department of Alto Adige” the name Alto Adige continued throughout the First World War. Following WWI, South Tyrol was adapted as the name of the region in order to promote ‘Italianization’ of the country. The region was required by the then fascist regime to resume speaking Italian, and all signs throughout the region were changed to reflect this as well. Following the war, South Tyrol was declared part of Italy by the Allied forces, but required the German speaking population to occupy high government posts in the region.  Following 1945, this area went though multiple disagreements, until it was declared an autonomous state in 1992. Currently, Germans refer to the region as “Autonome Provinz Bozen — Südtirol”.

The entire region is surrounded by mountains; creating an excellent environment for grapes to grow. It’s one of the smallest wine making regions in Italy, but there are many wineries here that have been making wine for multiple generations. Origins of Alto Adige winemakers have been traced back to before the Roman era. Today, about 70% of wine making production is within cooperatives.

Popular white varietals within the South Tyrol/Alto Adige region are: Chardonnay, Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, and Sauvignon Blanc. Also found within this region are Gewurztraminer (which takes its name from Tramier, a town within Alto Adige), Sylvaner, Muller-Thurgau, Kerner, Veltliner, and Riesling. As for reds, the most common varietals found are Schiava Grigia (25% of all grapes planted), Lagrein, Cabernet Sauvignan, Merlot, and Pinot Noir.

Alto Adige is gaining international recognition for its aromatic white wines, and velvety red wines. J. Strecker Selections (sister import company to Portalis) has recently brought in a few wines from Alto Adige, from the winery Castelfeder. Here are a few of our favorites available now at Portalis:


Castelfeder 2011 Pinot Bianco “Vom Stein”
$18.99 | INSIDER $17.99 | Mixed Case $15.19
A lively wine with balanced acidity, delicate fruit and floral notes, with hints of mature apple flavors on the nose. Delicious with asparagus, seafood, and lighter cuts of meat!


Castelfeder 2011 Kerner Vigneti dell Dolomiti “Lahn”
$22.99| INSIDER $21.99 | Mixed Case $18.39
Fresh and aromatic, this wine has high acidity with a spicy aftertaste (perfect for many different kinds of cuisine!)


Castelfeder 2010 Lagrein Alto Adige DOC “Rieder”
$20.99 | INSIDER $19.99| Mixed Case $16.79
Full of harmonious and soft tannins on the palate, this is an intense and complex red wine perfect for red meats and roasts.

We also carry 3 other wines from this producer:
Castelfeder 2011 Pinot Bianco A lot “15er”
$18.99 | INSIDER $17.99 | Mixed Case $15.19
Castelfeder 2011 Grauvernatsch/Schiava Grigio “Kegl”  
$17.99 | INSIDER $16.99 | Mixed Case $13.59

If you’re interested in tasting/purchasing any of these wines, please contact us at:
Portalis Wines
5205 Ballard Ave NW
Seattle WA 98107
206.783.2007
www.portaliswines.com
info@portaliswines.com

Cheers!
Kyle

Roman Pfaffl – The Face of Austria’s Future


“In a winery, the cheapest wines have to be very good.  If they’re not good, I don’t want to taste the expensive ones.”  ~ Roman Jr.

Roman Pfaffl is the face of where Austria’s wine industry is heading … and this is a good thing.  He was in Seattle this last week and we had the good fortune of being charmed by him in the most unpretentious yet solid kind of way.  In fact, he was so modest during my interview that the importer had to prod him a bit to get him to cough up more of his story as he didn’t think that the American audience would think it was interesting.  Decide for yourself:

Roman’s parents, Roman and Edelheid, founded Weingut R&A Pfaffl in 1978 when they inherited the family farm.  Over the last decades, Roman Sr. has played a big role in the Austrian winemaking community.  Aside from being called Mr. Veltliner by the Austrian press, he is credited with founding the Weinviertel appellation, Austria’s first DAC, and he was named Austrian Winemaker of the Year in 1996.  I figured young Roman was probably in the early stages of learning the ropes and a promotional tour to the US was part of that plan, but that was actually incorrect.  He explained that in the Austrian school system, you go to elementary school for 4 years, then Gymnasium (which is university bound secondary school like in Germany); however, in Austria at the end of grade 8 you can choose to continue with Gymnasium or attend an academic trade school.  This is the route that Roman took, attending the Höhere Punkt Lehr Gestalt für Wein und Obst Bau, which provided him with training in both oenology and viticulture. After school he did his 8 month compulsory military service (which he, like Jens, remembers fondly, telling me (with a little smile) that 2 of those months were posted on the border, directly protecting the motherland). At 19, he arrived back at the farm, and his dad basically wished him luck and handed over the keys, letting him know that he was there if Roman Jr. had any questions, but that he was heading off to be the Chairman of the Regional Wine Board of the Weinviertel region.  That was five vintages ago.

So, I asked him, were you a nervous?  Yes, he said with this charming grin, but he assured me that he had grown up around winemaking and it was sort of like coming home.  And, he told me not to forget that 2004 (his first vintage) was a perfect year in Austria, lots of sun, just enough rain, an easy harvest.  The perfect year to get your feet wet, so to speak.  Since then, he has started to move the focus from Grüner Veltliner (the fruity, crisp, peppery white famous to that part of Austria) to red wines, which he feels are the winery’s future. 

He has his work cut out for him though.  Austrian wines are still little known in the US, but way more people are familiar with Grüner Veltliner than Zweigelt or St. Laurent. We’re going to work to help Roman change that though as these wines are beautifully crafted, elegant wines.  I was particularly impressed with the two entry level wines.  Their names “Pepper” for the GV and “Cherry” for the Zweigelt were a little cutsie; however, I can forgive them as a German label is close to a death sentence in the American market and efforts to overcome that are commended.  Especially when they are as good as these for $17.99 | Sale $15.99 | Case $12.79.  When I told Roman that I had been pleasantly surprised by these wines, he said, “In a winery, the cheapest wines have to be very good.  If they’re not good, I don’t want to taste the expensive ones.”  We agree …

Pfaffl 2008 Grüner Veltliner “Pepper”  REG $17.99 | Sale $15.99 | Case $12.79
100% Grüner Veltliner. This is their entry level GV and it’s a delicious wine for the money.  Hints of citrus, herbs on the nose. Flavors of white pepper, lemons.  Great acidity.  Very refreshing as a sipper.  Pairs well with fish, chicken, pork dishes.
 
Pfaffl 2008 Grüner Vetliner Hundsleiten  REG $41.99 | Sale $34.99 | Case $27.99 
100% Grüner Veltliner. Single vineyard with very stony soils. This vintage had a very late harvest (November).  Not so much pepper. Bigger, rounder wine with flavors of grapefruit, citrus & herbs.  Beautiful, elegant wine.

Pfaffl 2008 Zweigelt “Cherry”  REG $17.99 | Sale $15.99 | Case $12.79
100% Zweigelt. Lots of dark cherry fruit, a little bit oaky, but lovely (aged 6 months in 30% old barriques).  Smooth tannins.  Roman said this is a typical Austrian red.
 
Pfaffl 2006 St. Laurent Altenberg  REG $55.49 | Sale $45.99 | Case $36.79 
100% St. Laurent.  Very elegant, smooth, old world style wine.  Plums, blackberries & “exotic woods” on the nose. Flavors of cherries & blackberries with a touch of smoke. 


We had a lot of fun with Roman at this tasting, and encourage you to give the Pepper & the Cherry at try …

Cheers,
Julie

The Incredible, Drinkable Loire Wine

LoireI consider the Loire Valley to be one of the most alluring and prolific wine regions in France. Situated 2 hours south of Paris and stretching to the Atlantic, the Loire Valley is an impressive 300 square miles.  The Loire, often called the “The Garden of France,” is charming with its rolling hills, vineyards and more than a thousand chateaux. It would be difficult to highlight all the regions at one go, so please do not be offended if I leave out your favorite sub-region.

Starting from the east is the famous region of Sancerre where Sauvignon Blanc is not just supreme but adored as one of the best examples of that varietal. Sancerre is made up of 14 communes and includes 4000 acres. The many soil types produce lean and lively Sauvignon Blancs that are unique and highly sought after. Sancerre also produces some great quality rosé and red wines made from Pinot Noir. East of Sancerre are the lesser known appellations of  Menetou-Salon and Quincy, which produce softer-style Sauvignon Blanc (not as steely as Sancerre) and at lower prices.  

Central Loire can be split into three provinces, Anjou, Saumur and Touraine. This area offers the broadest selection of grapes including Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Cot (Malbec) and Grolleau. They also use a labeling system to indicate the dryness/sweetness level of the wine: sec, dry; demi-sec, semisweet; moelleux, sweet and the rare pourriture noble (botrytis).

Anjou is most associated with outstanding quality sweet wine, though it also produces whites, rosé, reds and sparkling wines.

The appellation of Saumur, with its chalky/limestone soil produces wonderful light and fruity red wines with a rich earthiness, especially wines from Saumur Champigny which yields outstanding reds.

Touraine is best known for dry whites made from Sauvignon Blanc, but also Chenin Blanc is used for sparkling wine. Wines from this area are also a great value if you are looking for something different for a summer white. Another exceptional red wine producing region of the Loire is Chinon located east of Saumur on the left bank of the Loire River. Made from mostly Cabernet Franc grapes, reds from Chinon are elegant, supple and with a distinct violet aromas.

Near the Atlantic, the western part of the Loire Valley with its cooler climate is home to Muscadet wines.  The most well-known being Muscadet Sèvre et Maine. The grape in this delicious fresh white is Melon de Bourgogne, which was brought over from Burgundy in the late 17th century. Muscadets are delicately dry with aromas of white flowers and light citrus.  Fantastic with oysters!
   
I hope you agree that the Loire Valley has a lot to offer for the adventurous wine drinker. Bring one to your next dinner party or seafood extravaganza.

Recommended Loire Valley wines currently in stock: 
Chateau De La Chesnaie 2007 Muscadet Sèvre Et Maine Sur Lie ($15)
Domaine Lecomte 2007 Quincy ($20)
Domaine du Grand Bouqueteau 2006 Chinon (Cabernet Franc) ($19.50)
Philippe Raimbault 2007 Sancerre ($34)

Contributor: Gina Gregory, Sommelier & Manager, Portalis Wines