Valencay 2020, Mary Taylor & Sophie Siadou, Loire Valley
The flinty soils of the Loire Valley appellation of Valençay are known for giving their wines a finesse, perhaps even a chalkiness. This cuvée is known as “Les Griottes” or ‘the cherries’ as its gentle flavor and character has notes of red fruits (cherry, blackcurrant), with a hint of spices in the finish.
Best known for its famous pyramid-shaped goat cheese, the Valençay area of France’s Loire valley also produces an equally singular (if much lesser known) array of wines. What they lack in name recognition, however, they more than make up for in terms of sheer deliciousness and everyday charm— which illustrates an important principle. More often
than not, the hidden values of the world of wine are discovered along the road less traveled, far from the common crowd.
Geographically, Valençay is separated into two main areas, each straddling either side of the Modon, a winding tributary of the famous Cher river. The first, “Les Terrajots,” is characterized by stony, flinty clay soils known as “perruches,” which contribute structure and depth of fruit to the area’s wines. The second, located near the loge à Perin— a tiny hut constructed in the middle of the vineyards at the end of nineteenth century— is defined by “silex,” a mix of clay, limestone and silica, which imparts freshness and brisk minerality. Together, this unique geographic profile results in bright, flinty whites derived from Sauvignon Blanc, and— as evidenced by this exquisite example from the family-run Domaine Jourdain— mouthwatering reds, which are produced from the region’s three main varieties: Gamay, Pinot Noir, and Côt (the local name for Malbec).