The Wine: Tète Orange NV
Les Tetes Tète Orange NV is a skin-contact natural wine (orange wine) made from a blend of Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc farmed organically in the Loire Valley. Medium body wine, notes of white melon and apricot on the nose, balanced acidity.
The Producer: Les Tetes
Les Tètes is a small wine project run collaboratively by 4 friends, Nicolas, Philippe, Baptiste, and Vivien. They are located in the village of Le Pressoir in Touraine Azay-le-Rideau in the Loire Valley. Les Tètes is focused on bringing fresh and fruity competitively-priced wines that are grown organically and fermented with native yeasts and with only minimal sulfur added. In their own words, “Les Tétes is about friendship, and wines you drink with friends.”
Les Tètes are produced at Le Pressoir, in the village of Panzoult. The vineyards are near Honoré de Balzac’s birthplace and Alexander Calder’s workshop, in the unspoiled landscape surrounding Château de Rigny-Ussé. The grapes of “Les Tètes Au Bois Dormant” (sparkling rosé and white) come directly from the domain of Château de Rigny-Ussé.
“Les Parcelles” by Les Tètes are produced in very small quantities, on parcels (less then one hectar) among the most select AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controllée/controlled designation of origin) in Touraine.
The Region: Loire Valley
The Loire Valley is a vast region located in western France. It stretches from the hills of Auvergne all the way to the Atlantic coast, cut in half by the Loire River. With over 4 million hectoliters of wine per year, the Loire Valley is one of France’s biggest and most diverse wine-producing regions. The Lore Valley’s production ranges from every-day quaffable and unpretentious wine to some of the country’s finest whites and reds.
The Terroir of the Loire Valley
Upper Loire sub-region: continental climate, soils are mostly flint and limestone formations. This is the land of Sauvignon Blanc, with Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé being the most famous appellations (AOC).
Touraine sub-region: continental climate, soils can be clay with flint or limestone, and chalk. Chenin Blanc is the main grape varietal for white wines, with Sauvignon Blanc coming in second. Red wines are made mostly from Cabernet Franc.
Anjou sub-region: maritime to continental climate, crumbly and soft soil formation called tuffeau. Anjou is well-known for its Chenin Blanc wines, mostly dry although there are good examples of sweet Chenin Blanc in Coteaux du Layon.
Saumur sub-region: continental to maritime climate, soils are made of tuffeau limestone in this similar to Anjou sub-region. Chenin Blanc is vinified as a sparkling wine with the champenoise method, Cabernet Franc is made into light and peppery wines.
Pays Nantais sub-region: maritime climate, the region stretches to the Atlantic Ocean. Soils are rocky with granite formations. Muscadet is the main grape varietal of this area, known for wines that are mineral, crisp, and refreshing.
The White Wines of Loire Valley
White wines represent the biggest share with about 65% of the total production. Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Melon de Bourgogne, and Chenin Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne are the most popular grape varietals in the region.
The Red Wines of Loire Valley
Loire Valley reds are very distinct in terms of their style. Light and lean, lively and fruity, easy-drinking and food-friendly, they are some of the best everyday wines on the market. Some of the best examples of this style are made from Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, and Malbec.