The Loire River runs a course of 1,000 kilometers. This grandest of French rivers rises in the volcanic Auvergne mountains at 1551 meters in the village of Mont Gerbier de Jonc. It takes its course flowing north through the center of France and then westward to the city of Nantes, where it empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Along its way, the Loire River passes through thirteen departments and together with its tributaries, provides the setting for seventy-three different appellations. These seventy-three appellations fall within five viticultural regions: Auvergne, Centre-Loire, Touraine, Anjou-Saumur and Nantais. The most concentrated areas of wine production are found in these last three regions all situated on the upper half of the river.
It is here between the towns of Nantes, Angers and Cholet that importer Didier Simonin discovered today's feature in a local wine bar, Vignoble Réthoré Davy. Husband and wife Christophe and Martine farm 42 hectares of land in this rolling countryside of the Pays des Mauges, a little-known region of the western Loire. The estate was established in 1959 by the parents of Christophe and Jean-Michel Davy on classic Loire soil types, including schist, quartz, flint and slate, all of which drain well in this relatively cool region. Farming the regions historic varieties, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, Chistophe nurtures the family's vineyard with great care and a commitment to the "Terra Vitis" charter that stipulates a strict regimen of sustainable farming.
A new arrival stateside and an instant Unwined favorite, the 2017 Réthoré Davy Pinot Noir Vin de Loire is also among this week's Washington Postrecommended. Dave McIntyre offers 5 wines under $20 "that deliver exceptional value. You almost may wonder, why spend more? There are reasons, but don't let them stop you from enjoying these. Pinot noir from the Loire can be rather light, and it often makes a nice rosé. This red is deep, savory and delicious." This 100% tank aged Pinot is in a word compelling. It's unexpected fruit-mineral purity and medium body make it the perfect value red for any occasion. Plus it passes the next day test with flying colors. Guilt free, you can pull the cork when you want just one more glass of wine for the evening and come back to an even more delicious pour the next day. Enjoy with everything and everyone.