Another Accolade for the Wines of Le Puy Notre Dame (Village typique de Vignerons)
It’s always nice to hear when wines from our village of Le Puy Notre Dame are awarded prestigious awards and, during the last few years, such awards and recommendations have been falling thick and fast.
The latest is this award from a much respected magazine to La Domaine de la Paleine for their “Crémant de Loire”. This follows on from a tasting of sparkling wines done a couple of years ago in the French national newspaper ‘Le Monde’ which placed La Paleine’s other sparkler, Saumur Brut Blanc, amongst the best five sparkling wines in the whole of France, including Champagne.
The current award was a result of a tasting of 70 of France’s best organic Crémants. Not that the owners of the Vineyard, Laurence et Marc Vincent or the winemaker Patrick Nivelleau, put any great stress on the fact that it is organic, on the contrary, the stress is simply on the quality of the wine. The decision to go organic was merely a natural progression from their traditional methods. The wine was placed second amongst the 70 wine tasted – a mere 1/2 point behind the winner.
The Crémant appellation is a bit strange by French standards. Most wine regions have one:- Crémant d’Alsace; Crémant de Bourgogne,; Crémant de Limoux; etc.,etc., and the appellations themselves contradict the normal raison d’être of the French system which is to identify ever smaller parcels of ‘terroir’ to identify both the best wine growing areas and the best grapes to grow in them. On the other hand, for example, the appellation “Crémant de Loire” is huge, encompassing most of the wine growing areas on the 650klm. length of the Loire itself. This would normally lead to a generic appellation and, in general, mediocre wines. What makes “Crémant de Loire” so different is that the rules within the appellation are very, very strict indeed. Just to mention two examples. Machine harvesting is not allowed and quantities pressed are limited to much below what the press could actually take. In addition, most growers do not usually pile their harvested grapes into trailers but into small containers which take around 20 kilos. This prevents the grapes being crushed and starting to ferment before they have reached the winery.
Anyway onto the wine itself. It is a mixture of Chenin and Chardonnay, (60%/40%). which has spent 2 years during the “assembage” and maturation before release. I’ll translate the magazine tasting notes as I agree wholeheartedly although I can also detect a little butteryness coming from the chardonnay.
” It is flawless, elegant and refined which are the three words which define the best Crémants. On the nose it is flowery and briochée, (this means the slghtly spicy, yeasty, honeyed, warm-bread nose you get from brioche). In the mouth an excellent balance between fruit and vinosity”.
Les boulles,(bubbles) from the Domaine de la Paleine have always had a formidable reputation. This is achieved by the natural advantage of the limestone “terroir” which is the bedrock of Le Puy Notre Dame and an almost obsessive attention to detail.
This is just one more fine example but it will certainly not be the last as the vignerons continue to produce that little bit extra!
Here’s a toast to you all!