This is an archive of tasting notes from participants in the UK wine forum, with notes from before 2005

UK Wine Forum - the Loire
Notes from participants in the UK Forum are added in chronological order.

white - red

Loire whites

03/04 1997 Domaine des Baumard (Savennieres)
Light lemon, the intriguing nose reminded me of wet tree bark, fresh lime, and a little minerality. With time in the glass, goat's cheese also came out and I have experienced this with other Chenin's from France. Dense and a touch alcoholic, this slightly spicy wine makes its interesting personality felt along a good length on the palate. Drinking now, but I bet it will develop well over another 5-10 years. 88/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

02/04 Ch de La Roulerie. Anjou Sec 2002
Fruity, heavy acidity, touch of new would ripefruit here. Wine grown on Schist in Chaumes. LOvelty early drinking loire chenin. Mine's a case- thanks! (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Chambourceau Cuvee D'avant 2002
Butterscotch and Vanilla. ripe fruit. Finishes short but re-apears later...(No!! not in that way..) as honey. Fascinating wine. For wino's only - so that's another case down for me. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Varennes Savennieres 2000
Butterscotch and Vanilla again but bigger. ripe fruit but more of a palate than the Cuvee d'avant (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Chambourceau Clos de Papilion 1999
50% botritis. Deep yellow and allier oak! too young. Fab ageing potential. I love this. It has all the austere qualities and everything is in place for a 30 year chenin run. Could be drunk now but some may consider it infanticide... (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Chambourceau Savennieres Roche au Moines 2000
BIG oak. will this ever come around and recover from the oak blast? hint of an oxidative style of winemaking her but a difficult toss up to say that this is Loire! Could be californian- If Chenin was planted...(Oh god spare there *really* chenin planted there!?) (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Chambourceau Savennieres Roche au Moines Cuvee D'avant
Stunning. Give me the vinyard please!- oops can't have that as mr N. Joly has a few Ha's there...anyway, this is FULL of comlexity, so much so in fact that my TN runs out of complimentery adjectives. Never mind, more to come... (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 1998 Coulee de Serrant. Becherelle
Hoist the mainbrace it's Joly's 2nd wine from C de S. !st Bottle corked. 2nd Bottle.. needs opening at LEAST 24 hours in advance (as it state in precise words on the back label...)I brought this to the 2003 SB. and it was stunning 3 days later at home!! (I think Toby ahad a sneak last minute taste in the car park!) (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Domaines Baumard Clos de Papillion Savennieres 1997
Rovani 96 points - not that that matters you understand! Asparagus nose of secondary development. V.complex. Extraordinary wine. definitely buy a case here. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de La Roulerie Les Aunis Coteau de Layon 1999
Closed nose. soft and slightly flabby. big length, caramel, finishes short. (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Fesles Bonnezeau 1999
Lemony nose, good fruit, this is really great. May out live me. This is a 5 star wine, one of the truly great Chenin's...ever bar none. I've booked my grave now in the vinyard... (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de La Roulerie Cot. de Layon.Liquoreux 1996
Very closed. Palate doesn't really kick in until 20+ seconds post swallow. Needs loads of time and I'm too palate jaded to describe it any more. My apologies (David Bennett, UK)

01/04 2001 Pouilly-Fume Silex - Didier Dagueneau
£34.79 (US$59, 49 Euros). Dagueneau is one of the top producers of Sauvignon Blanc in the world. Almost colourless, the mineral nose also shows wet schist and a touch of oak. A long length of lemons, clear and focused acidity with good structure and oak as well. A wonderful white wine that surely needs several years to develop. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 1998 Coteaux du Layon - Baudouin - Cuvee Grains Nobles
50cl bottle - £25.40 (US$43, 36 Euros). Light orange, a heady nose of ripe apricots and some floral stimulation. A luscious texture on the tongue with admirable background acidity, apricots and a tang of spice. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/04 Domaine du Closel Savennieres 1997
I guessed this as a southern Rhone blend, reasonably flavoursome but a bit foursquare & slightly oxidised. G/VG. (lacked the crispness and minerality I would have hoped for) (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/04 1989 Huet ­ Cuvee Constance
I love dessert wines and this was a real treat. Bright gold, with a luscious apricot nose. Sweet apricots and peaches with a very long length that showed no signs of cloying. This will easily keep another 10-20 years plus. 94/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 Coteaux du Layon Chaume Les Onnis 2000, Domaine des Forges
Rich yellow-gold colour. Nose is a curious mixture of lovely super-tropical fruit and very high-toned solvents. Strangely attractive, despite the description. Also a fair amount of spice in there as well. On the other hand, there's something slightly overweight, slightly facile about it that's worrying, and this is confirmed on the palette. Definite lack of acidity here, and structurally, it appears to be held together mainly by the alcohol. This is surprising, since the 96 of this wine is stunning and has bags of acidity, and all of the wines I've had from this domaine have been excellent. I searched in vain for that telltale acid kick at the end of the palette, and it just wasn't there. Very seductive to drink now, with masses of incredible fruit, but ultimately lacking depth and structure, I feel. 3/5 (Lucian Holland, UK)

11/03 2002 Pouilly Fume - Domaine Chihault - Andre Dezat et fils
I was interested to try more 2002 wines from the Loire as it has been touted to me by friends and wine merchants as being of top quality. Subtle gooseberry and a little fresh grass on the nose. Medium bodied, slightly sweet while maintaining freshness and enjoyable length. 90/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

11/03 Savennieres Trie Speciale 1997, Baumard
Damp, wooly nose with lots of minerality. Very ripe and concentrated. Rich, powerful palate. Long, concentrated, complex. Really very good. (David Strange, UK)

11/03 1989 Huet Cuvee Constance (Vouvray)
Unfortunately for us, this wine took about ten minutes to reveal its huge TCA problem. Pity, as a similar bottle I drank a few months ago was outstanding. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

10/03 Savennieres L'Enclos 2001 (Eric Morgat)
Vibrant light gold appearance. Mineral edged, complex honeyed nose with additional hints of spice. Powerful in terms of concentration, body and structure and a real presence in the mouth. Not so much ripe Chenin (apple, quince) flavours as no indication of being under-ripe. Well balanced finish with a pleasing acidity and no bitterness or high alcohol heat. Gained complexity as worked through bottle and warmed up from too cold fridge. I don't think it was closed but it certainly promises further development. (James Orme, UK)

09/03 Savennieres Clos du Papillon Moelleux 1999, Soulez
Quite clean, really quite sweet with good balancing acidity. Nice fruit and some length. Good value. (David Strange, UK)

09/03 Vouvray Moelleux 1er Trie 1989, Foreau
Damp, fungal, botrytic nose with a surprising amount of appley fruit and an even more surprising degree of finesse. Rich, powerful and concentrated palate, but really fine acidity and great minerality. Very balanced. Great. To quote: Grand vin! (David Strange, UK)

09/03 Montouis Minerale, Demi-Sec Franz Saumon 2002
A nose of just crushed apples with floral, almost riesling like ketone elements. Good ripeness, soft rounded palate - neither intense nor long, but very pleasant straightforward drinking. As others mentioned, an empty glass leaves a goats/blue cheese like aroma. Odd, but then for me after the event. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

09/03 Pouilly-Fume Buisson Renard 2000, Dageneau
As expected, very light colour and tight overall. Some grass but clearly not an underripe style. Tight palate too, giving only some straight citrus/grapefruit flavours. Will develop well surely. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

07/03 Huet 1989 Vouvray Cuvee Constance
A light orange glow from this 11.5% alcohol top cuvee made by the top producer in Vouvray. Pleasurable sensations on the nose, with bitter marmalade, marzipan, ripe apricots and some damp leaves. But the palate was something else. A very rich and sumptuous, seamless, sweetness, with bracing acidity that carried the wine brilliantly. A very long lasting finish and a truly fantastic dessert wine. This wine is still a baby and must have decades of evolution ahead of it. Anyone fortunate enough to own any bottles of this nectar is in for a great time. 96/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

07/03 1999 Domaine Cady Coteau du Layon 'Harmonie'
Its got balance and moderate sweetness, but just a little simple and middle roady to really sing in any way. Not sure this will develop more interest either - but there's not anything wrong with it either. A good, simple desert wine - but no more. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

06/03 Muscadet Serve & Maine 2001 Cuvee Eden
This old vines cutie was 100% Melon de Bourgogne. The nose was good with floral and honeysuckle nuances. A fresh, slightly sweet taste greeted me, this was an enjoyable wine. 86/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

05/03 Dame de Closal Savennieres 1989
(Served blind) Horribly oxidised. Threw my glass away. This is the last of 6 I bought at the Domain about 3 years ago, all of which showed much, much better. Could be suffering from my less than perfect storage at home; although there was no cork seepage to note. Alan and Peter quite liked the style and Paul suggested that, given time, it would come round again. (Philip Vaughan, UK)

04/03 Domaine des Aubiesieres 1996 – Le Marigny – Vouvray
I am a fan of this estate and I brought this along to try with dessert. A medium gold colour, the nose was butterscotch, ripe apricots and quince. A balanced, medium sweet long finish beautifully held together by admirable acidity. Excellent with many years of life in it. 92/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

04/03 Clos de la Coulee de Servant 1990 – Nicholas Joly
This wine was made biodynamically by the well-known exponent Monsieur Joly. In the glass it was a medium light gold colour and comes from the outstanding 1990 vintage. An offering from Nigel's cellar, the nose was 'interesting'. Robert said straight away that he smelled goat's cheese. I got a good whiff of dry sherry (I dislike the stuff). It did taste fairly closed to me and needs more time to open up. A very unique wine, 84/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 Chateau La Tomaze 1990 Coteaux du Layon - £12 (US$18)
The 1990 vintage was a huge success over many parts of Europe in general and France in particular. The Loire region made some fantastic dessert wines from the humble chenin blanc grape. I pulled this from my cellar to enjoy on a Sunday afternoon with a fruit tart. A bright citron visual greeted me, which was a surprise as I was expecting it to be a tad darker. The nose was an interesting mix of semi-ripe melon and marzipan, with a dash of peach liqueur. The taste started with medium sweetness then persisted with less sweetness and more cleansing acidity. A decent finish on this well balanced wine. Enjoyable and I am not sure how long this will improve for and keep but it could be several years as it tasted quite young. 88/100 (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

03/04 2001 Nicolas Joly, Le Petit Clos Savennières AC
Yellow colour. The nose is subdued, though characteristic Chenin Blanc mixed with a little mushroom. Smooth, quite concentrated and shows good acidity. Interesting, but I'm not sure about the value at €17 (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

03/04 2001 Nicolas Joly, Clos de la Coulée de Serrant
A shade deeper in colour that the Petit Clos. A similar subdued nose but without the mushrooms. In the mouth this is obviously more concentrated and fat with lots of things going on. Medium-plus length. Very interesting and individual. Still, it's expensive at €48 though. (Bill Nanson, Switzerland)

02/03 Vouvray, Le Haut-Lieu Sec, Huet 1993
Slightly mute chenin blanc nose. Initially in the mouth very promising, apples, hints of wet wool, but then a thin mid-palate. A wine in which the acid seemed out of balance. Might this be OTH? (Mark Pearce, UK)

02/03 Domaine des Aubiesieres 1990 Cuvee Alexandre – Vouvray
Thanks to the charming Annelise Oliphant for bringing a brace of these along. I have long been a fan of this Domaine as a source for excellent and modestly priced dessert wines from the humble Chenin Blanc grape. In legendary vintages such as 1990 and in the hands of the right winemaker, in this case Bernard Fouquet, this can be made into nectar. I had drunk the standard trie des grains nobles moelleux bottling but not the cuvee Alexandre from 1990. It was a medium gold colour, with a nose of very ripe apricots and peaches. It tasted sensational! The great sweetness is so well balanced by the firm acidity that it is both a joy to drink now but will keep and develop for many years to come. Liquid barley sugar and apricots. This appears to have more acidity than the regular bottling. 96/100. (Nicos Neocleous, UK)

01/03 Phillippe Delesvaux Carbonifera 1997
Beautiful mid gold colour very sweet nose but good botrytis. Clearly a sweet Loire from the fresh acidity. Extraordinary sweetness and rich but with a cut of acidity to give a fresh finish. This is infanticide as it will last forever. I hope the compexity comes with age. Excellent/oustanding. This is one of the top "sugar hunters" from the Loire. I did not note the residual sugar level but apparently the grapes had one of the highest natural sugar levels ever recorded. Time will tell whether the search for sweetness is at the expense of ultimate balance and complexity. (Paul Redfern, UK)

02/03 Wine Society Sparkling Saumur
Off dry. Very fruity. Good mousse. Quite strongly flavoured. Bit of harshness towards finish but good on finish with decent length. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

01/03 Crochet Sancerre Vendange du 25 Octobre 1990
Strange blowsy nose, some minerals. High alcohol. Pretty good acid, strange green fruit. A bit confected but not bad. Strange. (David Strange, UK)

01/03 Savenniere Roche aux Moins Chevalier Buhard Cuvee d'Avant Doux 1997
Volatile acidity action! Some sulphur. Lots of botrytis. Damp and a bit dirty. Palate is very sweet but lacking in a bit of acid. Quite mineral. Long. Good. (David Strange, UK)

12/02 1975 Domaine de Maligne Coteaux du Layon
Amber bombshell with flavors to match. Sublime fragrances here of mandarin orange and mango and well developed tropical flavors that are buoyed by the acid. This is a dense, viscous, intense wine and yet I've never heard of this producer, but certainly don't claim to be an expert on the wines from the Loire Valley. Lovely mouthfeel and a very expressive finish are the highlights along with incredible aromatics. Can you tell I loved this one? (Roy Hersh, USA)

12/02 1986 Coteau de Layon, Moulin Touchais
The most surprising thing about this was the smell of the cork – at the open air end. It was dark, looked burnt and stank of damp forest/wet leaves. No, really! As for the wine, it showed a deep golden yellow colour, with a slightly closed yet honeyed nose. A very fresh wine, with lovely sweet honey and lemon citrus underpinned by fresh acid. Very young tasting for its age, and capable of ageing for much longer. An opulent wine but the acidity never lets it be cloying. For £6 (2000) this is a revelation. Excellent (Ray Abercromby, UK)

11/02 2000 Domaine des Berthiers Pouilly Fumé 12.5%
Pale green-tinged straw. V rich sauvignon blanc nose - gooseberry and a bit flinty/steely. Nice attack. full with a lovely richness, almost a buttery oiliness towards finish. Big and complex. Slightly hard on finish. Enormous length. Very good. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

10/02 2001 Muscadet Sur Lie, Domaine Saupin £5.75
Attractive lemony colour. Nice fresh nose. Light and slightly fragrant. Fresh, clean, light. Nice crisp acid. Perhaps a bit on the dull or neutral side, but it's not a bad price. For me, it felt like it could have done with a bit more lees contact. (Andrew Stevenson, UK)

09/02 Sancerre, Dom J Balland 2000
Crisp and quite elegant, but full-flavoured and nicely concentrated. Coped admirably with a delicious Halibut and pickled vegetables dish. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/02 Crémant de Loire NV, Gratien & Meyer
Good bubbles, fresh nose, crisp on the palate but lacked fruit or flesh. Moderate/Good. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

09/02 Clos du Papillon Savennieres, Domaine des Baumard 1994
Came from Majestic a few years ago at a dozy low price, around a fiver, and tasted very sharp on their tasting bench but I had been impressed with this wine from earlier vintages and others from the producer. Tonight the colour was a burnished gold. A sweet grapefruit juice nose and what would pass as oak elsewhere; very appealing though. On the palate there is the expected good acidity; very mouthwatering but not at all offensive now; moreish fruit with very nice length indeed, if a bit hot. (David Riach , UK)

06/02 Classic Selection Vouvray 2000
Quite light, lemony style here with bits of stink, but with an attractive bottom note of sweet fruit. Juicy and very easy-drinking, lacking Chenin character if not a fried rice note on the finish. Tangerine tang, peachy and grapey fruitiness. Lacks some cleanness but good. L5.50. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Les Vignerons de Saumur AOC 2000
Heavily mineral and quite dirty on the nose, very intense in mouth, rocky and steely. L5.45. (Nerval, UK)

06/02 Marc Angeli Bonnezeaux Côteaux du Houet 1999
Biodynamic wine. Nice golden colour. Elegant, not so botrytised as expected, with some oak showing. Good sweetness in mouth but quite dried in style – very rôti – though seemingly not too concentrated fruit, with a finish dominated by bitter botrytis. Pleasant but slightly hollow, nothing great. Not recommended at L35. (Nerval, UK)

04/02 Chinon Clos du Chene Vert Joguet 1996
Crimson in colour, this wine was ever so slightly chilled and thus, for me, served at a perfect temperature. On the nose, it was immediately identifiable as Loire Cabernet Franc with a familiar raspberry and wet stones bouquet. In the mouth, deep and concentrated, with great finesse and balance, maybe violets and certainly raspberries. All in perfect balance. I defy anyone to remain unconverted to Chinon if they taste this. Excellent. I don't have much Chinon tasting experience, but this was the best by a country mile. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

01/02 N. Joly Clos de la Coulee de Serrant 1989
Hmmm. Very elegant, great green-apple clarity above hay and honey, and wonderfully long - but a wine one would miss in a blind tasting? No great force. I suspect it needs more time to build up its strength - very youthful colour. (George Horton, UK)

11/01 Coulée de Serrant La Becherelle 2000
Medium yellow colour. Ripe, quite exotic nose that seems much better than in the 1999 of the same wine, with apricot, pear and some butter. Lots of Chenin typicity in this sample. Very good on palate, with a long, waxy finish. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Coulée de Serrant La Becherelle 1999
Very ripe and honeyed but elegant nose, a bit like the 1999 Coulée, if in an altogether gentler style. Shorter, more abrupt on the palate, and - not suprisingly - less interesting than the Coulée. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Coulée de Serrant 2000
Very dark golden, almost apricotty colour. Very perfumed vintage of Coulée, with lots of sweet, almost raisiny fruit. On the palate it is superiorly rich but slightly too lean to my tastes, thinning out towards the end. But there is good acidity, and the fat, waxy texture is textbook Chenin Blanc. A generous vintage, probably for the medium haul. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Coulée de Serrant 1999
This sample opened straight away (by the time I tasted it, probably opened for 3 hours). Dark straw. Nose is smokey but very marked by yeast at this stage, with a strong medicinal profile and yeast flavours of boiled chicken and egg also dominating on the palate. Quite crisp, but less appealing than the following sample, or even than the 1997. Medium long to long. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Coulée de Serrant 1999
This sample decanted for 24 hours. Very rich, dark colour. Very raisiny and honeyed on the nose, no sign of yeastiness, rich in extract, but quite elegant, simply greata great nose. On the palate there is a tad too much residual sugar for balance IMO, and some botrytis on the sappy finish; lots of candied fruit and honeyed flavours and extremely high extract. This needs 5 years to come together but should prove one of the great modern vintages of the Coulée. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Coulée de Serrant 1997
Peach colour. This starts much more praliney-champagney on the nose, although still with a waxy, medicinal touch of Chenin, but with that Chardonnay sur lie character and a subsidiary medicinal note of hawthorn that adds extra complexity. Very ripe. In mouth it seems even more voluminous than either the 1999 or 2000, slightly alcoholic (14%), with growing notes of pineapple and spring flowers. Perhaps slightly shorter than others. But there is great terroir typicity in the waxy dryness of the texture and stupendous overall harmony and elegance, even at this early stage. Wonderful fullness in fact, one wonders whether it would be possible to pack more of anything into a single wine, and this alone would lead me to say this is one of world's great white wines. Only Tokáji and sherry can give me that much physical excitement. Somehow this 1997 is more appealing today than its probably nobler brothers. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Coulée de Serrant 1995
Dark amber, turning almost peachy. Nose is now very honeyed, dark fruit-like but still elegant, dry and waxy. Some woman's perfume touches are enough to grab your attention, otherwise this seems a tad less ripe and more medicinal than both the 1997 and 1999. Or perhaps it is just at an intermediate stage of development. In fact the palate brings astonishing fullness, very akin to the 1997 but with what seems an even superior degree of definition and sharpness, also with higher acidity and less residual sugar, so better overall harmony. Wonderful finish which is slightly opaque, but extremely long. Perhaps the best of the bunch, though it's really unfair to judge given the difference in bottle age which seems crucial to the aromatic profiles. But another undoubtedly great bottle of wine. (Nerval, UK)

11/01 Vouvray Clos de Bourg Moelleaux, 1989, Gaston Huet
A: Deep golden colour with flashes of orange. N: Very honeyed with candied fruit on the nose. P: Very full with rich flavours of oranges and raisins. Long finish with richness followed up by a dryness at the end. S: Very good indeed. Drink now - 2015 ? (Paul Anderson, UK)

10/01 Clos Roche Blanche Touraine La Closerie 1999 This is a blend of malbec, cabernet franc and gamay from a producer famed on some internet boards for its sauvignon blanc. It is my kind of wine, packed with fruit, good acid balance and only 12% alcohol. Only trouble is it is so hard and tannic right now, a good wine, as they say. But that great summer fruit and indescribable Loire red quality that I am going to describe unfairly as tar and rubber are all there in abundance, so for the money (£6-something if I remember correctly) it is probably worth picking up another bottle to see where it goes. (Charles Adams, UK)

09/01 Sancerre "La Chaudouillone" 1998, Domaine Fournier
Very vibrant golden colour (this does have a little age, after all) leading to a big nose of gooseberries/green fruit, and plenty of wet stone and flint. Lovely palate carries the fruit through with bracing, minerally acidity and a zingy finish. Great stuff. So much so,m in fact, that I fear I must apologies for the spelling in this post, as I've gone and drunk the entire thing after a few beers. Oh dear.... Still, at £9.49 good value and for me, a much preferable style to NZ (Joel Hopwood, UK)

07/01 Vouvray la Mont Sec (Huet) 1998
Why did it take me so long to discover chenin blanc? Not much of a bouquet but the flavour absolutely explodes in your mouth. There is a wonderful concentration of fresh granny smiths and a slight sweetness balanced by seeringly high acidity that some may find too much, but I find adds crispness and interest. Great flavour and only 12% alcohol, and you can age them too! (Charles, Adams, UK)

03/01 1996 Champalou ‘Cuvee Fondraux’, Vouvray
My go-to Vouvray, this has shut up shop completely, although it was starting to sing with breakfast this morning, with more apparent sweetness coming out. Otherwise, it was a closed, confused child, neither sec or demi-sec (even though it’s usually the latter), neither stinky wet socks nor honeyed pear and quince, neither fiercely acidic or mellow. Did emerge with a gunsmoke enhanced nose, but this is a bit like Natalie Portman in flannel pyjamas, on the brink of further development but hiding behind a thick, homey screen of comfort. (Yixin Ong, UK/Singapore)

02/01 1990 Ch. du Hureau, Coteaux de Saumur
A Vatan wine, this was pretty nice, if closed (at least to me) or perhaps on the way downhill. It’s showing better today, although a bit too botrytis-dominated for me to really like it. Good acid and balance in the mouth, although traces of bitterness creep in that suggest not all is well. Quite spicy as well. (Yixin Ong, UK/Singapore)

01/01 H Bourgeois, La Chapelle, Sancerre 1999
Aroma of confectionery - pear drops/pineapple cubes ? Lower acidity than Cloudy Bay. Definite minerally taste, a keeper? (Mark Robertson, UK)

01/01 H Bourgeois, Le Jadis, Sancerre 1999
Made from Sauvignon Rose, macerated on skins. Lees contact and bottled unfined/unfiltered. Aroma of marzipan. Very full in the mouth, good length and balance. One to keep. (Mark Robertson, UK)

05/00 Château de Fesles '97 Bonnezeaux
Peachy/apricot like fruit with plenty of botrytis complexity. Lively acids yet full rounded palate with balance and length. A lovely wine to finish with. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

02/00 Clos de Papillon Savennieres 1994
I never let an opportunity to make a fool of myself by guessing blind to go amiss and it's evolved looking golden colour, rich, honeyed off-dry fruit made me guess an ageing Alsace Pinot-Gris. Knowing what it was, I still thought there are similarities but it's didn't have the spicier side that TPG also has. It seemed like a wine that should be drunk up. (Nick Alabaster - UK)

Loire reds

02/04 Ch. de de la Roulerie Les Marones Anjou ROUGE 2002
Drinking now and simple but good stalky cab franc. too Quaffable!! (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Fesles Vielles Vignes anjou Rouge 2001
serious cab France here. Raspberry notes andbetter tannic structure. lovely. 5-7years (David Bennett, UK)

02/04 Ch. de Fesles Anjou Rouge 2001
30% Cab sauv. God fruit but disctice lack of structure. Not as good as VV above. (David Bennett, UK)

06/03 Chinon "Le Villy", Domaine du Raifault 1998
The top cuvée from a good producer. This was still tight on the nose; opened up to violets and developed to hints of barnyard. Good structure, fresh cut grass and green peppers. Tangy, concentrated and pleasant, if a little closed. Whether the fruit was sweet/ripe enough to last out the tannins is debatable. Good plus. (Matthew Mellor, UK)

04/03 Chateau de Hureau Saumur-Champigny (Loire) 1998
Bellpepper, green stalky nose, VA, some spicy, peppery notes. Not my thing. I do not like Cab Franc, try as I might. Palate also tastes a bit green and underripe (I know it's meant to! ), not my thing. Others liked it. (Stephan Muller, UK)

01/03 Domaine de Filleatreau Saumur-Champigny Vieille Vignes 1999
(I opened this on Monday, and disliked the clovey/corky nose so poured only a quarter glass then gently vacuvined the remainder and popped it in the fridge. On Tuesday the nose had cleaned itself up and become gently herbaceous. Enjoyed one glass, put the rest back in the fridge). Tonight (4 days after opening), a nose of wet tobacco leaves with just a touch of rancid butter perhaps warning of its extended aeration. Lovely elegant palate - dry, crisp, tobaccoey, gently tart summer berry fruits. Really savoury and pleasant to sip slowly ( unlike the Faith which seemed to get glugged back). The acidity is quite significant, but quite different to the Faith: it seems to provide a hidden framework for the wine, rather than a slightly gaudy overlay. Nice stuff that I think will last for ages. G/VG now, maybe more in time. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

07/02 Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Champigny VV 2000
Colour - purple red, appearance - bright, good "legs". Aroma - (with coaxing) cherry fruits and hint of eucalyptus. Taste - mouth coating tannins leading to lush cherry fruit, fresh acidity. Finish is long. Bit of a blockbuster, drinkable now but I feel will benefit from 2-3 years more ageing. (Mark Robertson, France)

01/02 Charles Joguet Chinon Clos de la Dioterie 1988
Medium ruby, fading to pale garnet rim. Evolved nose of raspberries, rose petals, herbs and minerals. Noticeable, but balanced acidity and low tannin. Medium-bodied. Very good red fruits (raspberries and redcurrants) with spice and minerals on the finish. Quite long. Drinking very well now, but will last a couple more years. Very good and my "bargain of 2001" at £9-95 from Tanners. Just wish I'd bought more than two bottles, of which this was the second! (Trevor March, UK)

01/02 Clos L'Abbage Bourgueil 1989
Pleasingly ripe but still showing developing tobacco, undergrowthy red fruit, nicely balanced in a not too intense or lingering manner. Rounded, mature, Loire reds do work in a none to dramatic way. (Nick Alabaster, UK)

08/01 Domaine Filliatreau St Nicolas de Bourgueil Jeunes Vignes 2000
OK but slightly green and mean. QG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine Filliatreau Lena 2000
Riper, more fruit, less greenness. Pretty, clean, bright and fun. G. Bought 3 @45FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine Filliatreau La Grande Vignolle 2000
Touch greener than Lena, but better balanced by more fruit intensity. G/VG. Bought 3 @48FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine Filliatreau Vielles Vignes 1999
Impressive fruit/acid intensity, a little stern now but quite serious stuff. VG. Bought 6 @55FF ea. (Selling at 69FF in LeClerc by comparison) (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine de la Guilloterie St Nicolas de Bourgueil 1999
Pleasing, leafy, cool fruit, refreshing mouthful, perfect with a bread and camembert picnic lunch. QG/G. Bought 3 more from LeClerc @ 36FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Clos des Cordeliers St Nicolas de Bourgueil 1999
Delicious warm fruited soft textured lunchtime glugger - an excellent alternative to Beaujolais as a summer quaffer - softer and less acidic. Bought 3 more from LeClerc @ 39FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine de St Just St Nicolas de Bourgueil "La Montee des Roches" 1997
Bought at LeClerc Saumur. Impressive youthful purple colour still. A bit of a shock to start with: all the cool grassy fruit I'd come to expect from S-C, but then a slug of tannin and oak on the follow through. Once re-adjusted, this was clearly a quality wine, good intensity and length - just a bit of a gear change from all the S-C gluggers we'd had so far. Lots of sediment at the bottom of the bottle. Years ahead of it, but will it improve and integrate more? Not sure, so buy just 1 more bottle to bring home at 77FF. VG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Joel Taluau Bourgueil Jeunes Vignes 2000
Like a not-quite-ripe liquid summer pudding, with lots of intense pure raspberry, but also some rasping acidity. For now, QG, but maybe a fair bit more when softened by a couple of year's aging. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine du Bourg Bourgueil Les Graviers 2000
Clean crisp fruit, cherryish, plenty of youthful grip. G. Bought 6 @ 35FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine du Bourg Les Graviers 1999
More evolved nose was good, but fruit was slightly dirty/mouldy compared to the 2000. QG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine du Bourg Les Graviers 1998
Beginning to mellow and round out, but a touch of stalkiness to the fruit. QG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine du Bourg Clos Lorioux 1998
Bit more stuffing and length than the Les Graviers 98, but really quite green. A/QG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine du Bourg Prestige Vielles Vignes 1999
Nice ripe fruit, full bodied, slight oak apparent, svelte but pleasingly muscular. G/VG. Bought 6 @48FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Frederic Mabileau L'Eclipse 1999
Powerful, very rich, obvious expensive oak. Impressive but very atypical I felt, trying to be a new wave right bank Bordeaux! G/VG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Frederic Mabileau Bourgueil Les Coutures 1998
Good fruit, with an intriguing fresh 'lemon grassy' piquant lift. Elegant and balanced. G/VG. Bought 3 @ 55FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine de l'Asseliere Bourgueil 2000
Leafy, fruity, refreshing, a touch rough though. QG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Clos de l'Abbaye 2000
Piquant fruit with a shake of spicy/rustic complexity. No nose yet. G. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Clos de l'Abbaye 1999
Some evolution on the nose. Ripe, warm, quite spicy. G/VG. Bought 3 @ 38FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Clos de l'Abbaye 1998
Softer, mellower, fruitier than the 99, but maybe just a bit bland and 'neutered'? G.(Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Clos de l'Abbaye 1993
Rustic but mellow, mushy peas/touch of pepper on the nose, but elegant mouthfeel despite this. G. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Clos de l'Abbaye 1996
Still crisp, bit tight, but really intense musky fruit. G/VG. Bought 3 @ 54FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Clos de l'Abbaye 1989
Poised, mature wine: intriguing balance between svelte fruit/mouthfeel, and slightly unruly spice and tinned vegetable nose. VG. Bought 3 @ 95FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine des Chesnaies Vielles Vignes 1996
From a half bottle at Le Prieure restaurant overlooking the Loire near Saumur. Lovely piquant smoky gamey nose and flavours allied to a soft silky texture. A perfect match for our guinea-fowl with truffle sauce. VG/E. This was served in a huge wide bowled glass - wonder how much this improved the impact of the wine's nose? (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine des Chesnaies Cuvee des Chesnaies 2000
Very bright clean fruit. Pure, simple and tasty. G. Bought 3 at 30FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine des Chesnaies Cuvee Lucien Lame 1999
More rustic than the 2000, with spicy/metallic overtones, more complex, but less exuberantly fun. G. Bought 3 at 31FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine des Chesnaies Cuvee Lucien Lame 1996
Like a very muted '2nd wine' version of the 96 VV we'd had at Le Prieure. QG/G. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine des Chesnaies Vielles Vignes 1997
A better imitation of our 96VV restaurant wine. Not quite as rich, quite as ripe or quite as smoky/piquant nose, but very nice nonetheless. G/VG. Bought 3 @ 37FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Domaine de Grezille Chinon 1999
A cheapie left by our gite owner as a welcome bottle. Light, slightly smoky fruit, manageable herbaceousness. QG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Couly-Dutheil Chinon Les Graviers 1998
Very correct but a tadge clumsy and unstructured. QG/G. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Olga Raffault "Les Picasses" 1983
Stinky, sludgy, volatile, high acid, but an intense fruity core too. Intriguing but not very pleasurable. QG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Chateau de la Grille 1995
An impressive wine, maturing pleasingly. Wild strawberry, jos-sticks, soft oak; powerful youth giving way to pleasing secondary softness and complexity. Very satisfying, went well with lamb gigot with white beans. Close to peak, I felt. VG. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Bernard Baudry Chinon 1999
Pretty, clean, fruity, easy. QG/G. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

08/01 Bernard Baudry Domaine 1999
Elegant ripe texture, nice fruit and spice nose, good intensity and finish. G/VG. Bought 6 @ 40FF ea. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

Domaine du Bourneau Saumur Rouge 2000
Bit of a green raspy shock on first sniff and taste, but quite a reasonable quaffing plonk with some bitter-cherry depth to it. A/QG.(Paul Armstrong, UK)

Domaine Langlois-Chateau Saumur Rouge 1999
Good balance of fresh fruit and gentle herbaceousness. QG/G. (Paul Armstrong, UK)

01/01 Chinon L'Ancestrale de Philippe Pichard 1999
A deep red/purple colour this wine shows a rounded, roasted, toasty nose. On the palate it is full flavoured and spicy, and is currently dominated by new oak which all but swamps the ripe, abundant fruit. It's perhaps a little lacking in the mid-palate, too. Impossible to call as a Chinon, but still pretty tasty, I'd be interested to see how this evolves (Jamie Goode, UK)