04/11/06 – The Loire

By Jesse on April 11, 2006


First of all, lets all extend our thanks to Theresa and Joe for having the two awesomest dogs in the entire Los Angeles metropolitan area.  Noodles and Apollonia may have to make guest appearances at future wine club meetings.

Speaking of guest appearances, guess who’s gonna be at the meeting on Wednesday night?  My parents, that’s who….. they’re in town from New York for the week and I told them they should stop by and learn a thing or two about the hedonistic, wine-soaked life I lead out here in this godless city.  So I don’t want to disappoint them — I need you guys to be at your most belligerent, ok?  No, I’m just kidding.  They’re my parents.  They’re only gonna stick around for a little while, and then we can be belligerent after they leave, ok?  Have some decency, for chrissake.

On Wednesday night, we return to France, hoping to explore some of the regions we neglected when we left the country after visiting only Burgundy and Bordeaux.  Champagne and Alsace are definitely high on the list, as is the southern region of the Rhone, but for Wednesday we’ll go to the north west of France and check out the Loire.  It’s a very diverse region and produces both red and white, but since it’s more known for its whites, I feel like we should devote the entire meeting to them.  In exchange, when we do the Rhone, we’ll concentrate on the reds for which that region is known, although like the Loire, it also produces both red and white.

Loire whites are primarily made from Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc, and they’re known for their acidity; a lot of good information about them can be found on this website: http://www.diwinetaste.com/dwt/en2005062.php .  One interesting item is that because the climate can be cold and damp, producers in the Loire are known to use a process called Chaptalization in which they add sugar to increase the alcoholic content.  This does not make the wine sweeter, though, because the sugar turns to alcohol during fermentation; the resulting higher alcohol content can help to cover up the thin weakness of a wine from a bad vintage.  I did a little research and found a this thing called a Vintage Chart online… I swear, I’m really getting to like this whole “internet” phenomenon.  I couldn’t find any very current charts, but it seems from the ones I found that of recent years, 2002 was supposed to be very good, apparently the best since 1996.  It seemed like 2003 was getting good reviews as well.

For Wednesday’s meeting, please bring a bottle of white Loire from whatever vintage looks good to you.  The most famous appellations — and remember, it is THIS word that you’ll see on the bottle, rather than the grape type — are the following:


The meeting will be held at our apartment in Sherman Oaks.  The address hasn’t changed, and remains (classified), #4, in 91423.  From the 101, exit on either Coldwater Canyon (if going north) or Woodman (if going south) and then drive towards the other one on Moorpark.  Turn on to Dixie Canyon, and we’re halfway down on the right…. there’s plenty of parking in the neighborhood.  Do your best to chill your bottle before arriving, or else we’ll have to break out the ice bucket, in which case we’ll have no swill bucket and Don will be overburdened.  See you Wednesday at 9—