The Wine: La Presse 2019
Francois Blanchard La Presse 2019 is a natural wine made from a blend of Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from Blanchard's Le Grande Clere. Elevage in neutral oak. Organic farming, no added sulfites or other substances in the cellar.
The Producer: Francois Blanchard
Francois has dedicated most of his life to music. A well-known jazz musician, Francois decided to take the reigns of his family's chateau and property in Lemere (40 km south of Tours, Loire Valley) in the mid-2000s.
Francois is a holistic and immersive human through and through. He farms and tends to his beloved 2-hectare vineyard Le Grand Clere vineyard with this mindset. Solely relying on the help from his friends in the natural world - fruit trees, horses, cover crops, native insects, etc. - this vineyard is teeming with life and diversity.
The wines from Francois reflect his character as well as the life within the vines and the clay/silex soil beneath. They are a concentrated and potion-like pair of the man and the place. The wines themselves are few in total and often find their way to amazing corners of the world. Highly sought after by those dedicated to vin nature. Francois is one of the most universally respected and loved vignerons that I have come to know. A range of his beautiful 2019 wines will be arriving in February 2021.
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.