2008 Domaine Le Portail Cheverny AOC

Mission Codename: 1000 Years of History

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Visit the Loire Valley are acquire a delicious dry aromatic white for our operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Domaine Le Portail

Wine Subject: 2008 Cheverny Blanc AOC

Winemaker: Nicole & Michel Cadoux

Backgrounder: Located in France’s Loire Valley and specifically the sub-region of Touraine (near the commune of Tours) the Appellation Cheverny Contrôlée is perhaps best known for its Castle/Chateau, but the wines of the region should also not be missed. Wine-making in this region dates back to the Roman era.

The white wines from this AOC are primarily Sauvignon Blanc (60-80% by regulation) with the addition of some Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Arbois. The region is also known for its rose, cremant (sparkling wines) and lighter reds (Gamay, Cab Franc and Pinot Noir). Like the other famed wines of the Loire (Sancerre, Pouilly Fume), the dry white aromatic wines are heavily influenced by the limestone, calcareous and sandy clay soils. Today’s selection is 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Chardonnay.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Pale straw yellow with slight greenish hues when held at an angle to the light. Clear pale along the edges and when swirled, slow thin tears hang for a moment before descending.

Smell – Bright aromas of citrus and tree fruit tart green pear and apple and a touch of pineapple. Flinty and steely minerals blend smokey notes. Included are honey blossom flowers, spice and a touch of green herbs.

Feel – Medium bodied and dry but with a slight touch of sweetness and weight at mid palate that is joined by developed tannins and bright but balanced acidity and light minerals.

Taste – Green apple, tart pear and pink grapefruit along with pineapple blend with green herbal and smokey notes. Orange blossoms, flinty minerals, smoke, and subtle green grassy herbs and spice linger just underneath the generous fruit.

Finish – Medium to long with the lingering fruit, minerals and spice giving way to tart citrus, light minerals and vibrant acidity that makes the mouth water for another sip.

Conclusion – The 2008 Domaine Le Portail Cheverny Blanc AOC is a delicious and unique blend of both Sauvignon Blanc with a dose of Chardonnay that adds as much in terms of flavor as it does in its body. The Sauv Blanc contributes aromatic and fresh with smokey and mineral laced fruit on both the nose and palate. Its lingering minerals and acidity makes this a great food wine. Enjoy this wine right now paired with sauteed scallops or steamed mussels with citrus and herb seasoning.

Mission Report:

Just as I was starting to setting into being back in New England after extended missions in Europe I got an urgent PIN from Agent Terroir. I was to immediately depart back to Paris and then to the village of Tours and the Chevervy AOC. Intel had been streaming in on certain vineyards with exceptionally dense plantings and OPS wanted a first hand account of the wine, and if possible to secure a tasting.

Arriving at Charles de Gaulle International Airport I was still half asleep. Over the past two months, I had spent more time on an airplane than I had in my own bed. Agent Terroir handed me a dossier to review as we made the two hour drive down A77 to the central Loire.

I was fighting to stay awake as I reviewed the imagery analysis of the vineyards and the vines. The dossier also had technical analysis of the soil, aspect, various viticulural techniques and even some preliminary tasting notes.

We arrived in Orleans and then half way to Tours before proceeded to the vineyard in question. We had no appointment with the Chateau and jumping fences and sneaking through the grounds of the countryside was not my idea of good planning. Agent Terroir assured me that we had secured a tasting sample from an inside operative and we’d be able to have a taste later.

Agent Terroir had booked a room for me at a small pension in the village. I took the key, walked up the stairs and into my room, dropped my bag, the technical samples from the vineyard and immediately took a shower. Once the hot water ran over my face, I started to feel better. Slightly rejuvenated, I lied down on the bed and just then I noticed a bottle with a note attached on the small sitting table in the corner. Was it there when I came in? I honestly didn’t notice…

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Appellation Cheverny Contrôlée can be seen in this satellite photo.

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