The Wine: Le Zu de Fruit 2019
Jérôme Lambert Le Zu de Fruit is a red natural wine made from 100% Grolleau grapes grown in Anjou, Loire Valley. The grapes are fermented whole-bunch for about two weeks, the wine is aged for 9 months in fiberglass vats. Le Zu de Fruit, the fruit juice, is made naturally with native yeasts and no added sulfites – sans soufre. Medium body and fruit-forward, notes of ripe cherry and plum, round palate with subtle tannins. One of my favorite red wines from France.
The Producer: Jérôme Lambert
Jérôme Lambert tends just a few hectares of vines near Rablay-sur-Layon, in a remote part of the Loire south of Angers. Jérôme farms Chenin Blanc organically from a single plot of low-yielding vines up to fifty years old planted over schist. He’ll often make several harvests at various stages of ripeness, offering a fascinating insight into this great terroir. These are tense, focused expressions of Chenin that possess a wonderful ability to age.
Jérôme also farms a little Grolleau and Cabernet Franc. The fruit here is planted over sandy soils and the wines reflect these. They are juicy, joyful, and perfumed. In short, everything we look for in the vibrant reds of the Loire. From a makeshift cellar that some might scoff at, Jérôme uses nothing but grapes to make wines that are amongst the most distinctive we have tried. We could not be happier to be receiving a small allocation of his tiny production each year. (source: Tutto Wines)
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.