If you adhere to the the traditional rankings of red wines from France’s Loire Valley, Chinon or perhaps Bourgueil is tops, with Saumur-Champigny usually occupying third place, with the usual and justified nod to this appellation’s particular gregarious but complex fruitiness, as well as a subtle refinement derived from the chalky tuffeau rock into which the zone’s Cabernet Franc vines forces its roots.
And sagging slightly sadly south and west of Saumur-Champigny geographically is just plain old Saumur. There’s always at least one good wine made in any appellation, and Saumur certainly makes well more than that, but clearly Saumur is not the world’s “IT” appellation either. So here’s a little lesson to dig just a little deeper, when considering Loire red wines, or any wine from anywhere – try to look beyond, or rather remember beyond nation or appellation to producer. A winemaker who really knows and has a passion for his or her terroir can produce wines of equal or even superior quality from supposedly “lesser” lands than his or her peers in regions more renowned. This is one.
I matched this really expressive and well made wine with toasts spread with a puree` of cepe (porcini) mushrooms, potatoes, egg, parsley, marjoram, etc. and then served a main course of bone-in pork chops, browned and then braised in Savoy cabbage and onions with three wines, fresh savory and bay leaves.
Domaine Filliatreau Saumur Chateau Fouquet 2010
Blackish, purple/crimson color. Tidy and vivid nose of dried leaves, plum, blackberry, chalk, grated bitter-sweet chocolate, matzoh, fresh cut flowers, and soy sauce. The palate is quite big and rich but still very elegant and savory, with a broad, fresh acidity, a beautifully austere tannic structure, and crunchy, clean flavors of super ripe watermelon and sweet and sour cherry fruit, cardamom, cinnamon, and sarsparilla root. Long, dry, lip-smacking finish.