Wines of the Loire Valley: New Releases from Alphonse Mellot, Thierry Germain, and Domaine Didier Dagueneau

In a recent tasting in Washington, DC organized by importer, Laurent Givry of Elite Wines, we had the opportunity to taste the new releases of some of our favorite Loire Valley producers. Alphonse Mellot crafts refined and precise wines from his 30+ hectare family estate in the hills of La Moussiere in the southwest corner of Sancerre. His vineyards consist of low yielding vines on chalky soils that have been farmed biodynamically since 1999. Cuvée Edmunds is the estate’s top-of-=the live Sancerre and a real stand out. Thierry Germain of Domaine des Roches Neuves in Samur Champigny is originally from the Gironde. He has 54 acres of vines which he cultivates organically and biodynamically. His wines made of Cabernet Franc are fruit forward and exhibit remarkable purity, texture, and balance. “La Marginale” is the finest expression of his winemaking. Didier Dagueneau’s son Louis-Benjamin has succeeded his famous father, recently deceased, as winemaker at this family estate in Pouilly-Fume. . Louis-Benjamin is a talented young winemaker who is already recognized for his outstanding Sauvignon Blanc. The Domaine Didier Dagueneau is comprised of 11 hectares and is certified biodynamic.

Importer: Elite Wines Lorton, VA

The IWR has published two in-depth reports on the Loire Valley. “Report # 17 Sauvignon of the Loire” June 2009 and “Report #22: Grapes and Wines of the Western Loire” June 2010 These reports are available on

Alphonse Mellot 2011 Sancerre “La Moussiere” Blanc ($35) 91+
Alphonse Mellot’s 2011 Sancerre ” La Moussiere” offers attractive aromas of white flowers, citrus and minerals. Aged in 40% new French oak (no malo), it is a precisely focused and elegant wine with ripe mouth filling citrus flavors and a long finish.

Alphonse Mellot 2009 Sancerre “La Moussiere” Rouge ($52) 90
The “La Moussiere” Rouge is a light fruit forward wine of Pinot Noir offering aromas of ripe raspberry with earthy and reductive notes. It has a chalky mouth feel with good acidity and balance and firm round tannins on the finish. .

Alphonse Mellot 2010 “Cuvée Edmond” ($72) 92
Cuvée Edmond is lean and rich with floral and citrus fruit aromas.with hints of tropical fruit. It has high in glycerin on the palate with good structure and mouth feel and a long finish. Sourced from old vines situated on a south-southeast facing slope of the La Moussiére vineyard. Soils are chalk and Kimmeridgean marl and yields are low.

Thierry Germain 2010 Domaine des Roches Neuves Samur Champigny ($22) 90+
The Romaine des Roches Neuves offers pure fresh dark red plum fruit on the nose and the palate. It is a delicious and easy drinking wine with a velvet texture, excellent balance, good structure, and round tannins on the finish.

Thierry Germain 2010 Domaine des Roches Neuves ” Les Terres Chaudes” Rouge Samur Champigny ($38) 91
The ” Les Terres Chaudes” offers pure ripe red plum fruit aromas on the nose that are mirrored on the palate. It has good depth and has a velvet texture and mouth filling flavors. It is perfectly balanced and firmly structured. The wine is produced from 25+ year-old vines and aged in stainless steel and oak.

Thierry Germain 2010 Domaine de Roches Neuves “La Marginale” Rouge Samur Champigny ($53) 92
The 2010 “La Marginale” is Theirry Germain’s top cuvee. It offers concentrated dark red fruit aromas with considerable depth and intensity of flavor on the palate. Aged in French oak for 18 to 24 months, “La Marginale” is sourced from low yielding vineyards on south-facing slopes of clay and limestone soils. It is not a wine produced in every vintage.

Didier Dagueneau 2010 Blanc Fume de Pouilly “Buisson Renard” ($105) 93
Didier Dagueneau’s Blanc Fume offers aromas of passion fruit, citrus and minerals with some herbal nuances. Barrel fermented and aged mainly in neutral oak, It is elegant, beautifully focused and highly complex on the palate. The wine is sourced from a single parcel of the estate’s 11 hectare vineyard which is biodynamic certified.

Didier Dagueneau 2009 “Les Jardins de Babylon Jurançon 500ML ($80) 92

This lovely yellow-gold colored wine made of Petit Menseng reveals delicate aromas of white flowers, orange peel and dried tropical fruit. It has rich viscosity on the palate and is beautifully balanced with ripe fruit flavors, excellent acidity, and a moderately sweet finish. A delicious exotic dessert wine that pairs beautifully with fruit, nuts and soft cheeses.

Domaine de la Foliette 2011 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie ($17) 88
The Clos de la Fontaine Muscadet exhibits a pale straw hue and aromas of lime and lemon citrus . It is ripe and fresh on the palate with moderate flavors, medium acidity and a chalky finish.

Mike Potahnik and Don Winkler
November 13, 2012

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