Loire – Centre

More than any other part of the Loire, the wines of the Centre have swayed to the dictates of Parisians’ fickle tastebuds – from steely, green Sauvignon of the 1970s meant to be gulped while dragging on a Gitanes, listening to Gainsbourg or Brel, to the equally thirst-quenching reds (usually, but not always, from Pinot Noir) that populated countless wine lists in the 1980s, to the machine-harvested, enzymed and yeasted New World wannabes of the 1990s, the winemakers here have managed to keep demand and prices high by adapting to the Parisian (and global) thirst for instant gratification beverages. In short, it is not really a region for someone wishing to find honest wines.

But there is a different Vignobles du Centre, one that shares more than just chalk bedrock and soft weather with its less preening neighbours in the Touraine and Auvergne. It is populated by a mix of stubborn traditionalists, who hew to their time-honoured methods of wine growing, and a band of young, exciting (and excitable) vignerons who see the potential in this region’s vineyards and vines. Both groups are less beholden to Parisians and fashion than the large estates, and often work organically (if not biodynamically), harvest by hand, and take pains to let the terroir show through, eschewing aromatic yeasts, enzyme additions and the planting of clones selected for high yields and flavour properties.

We are very proud to work with one of the best and most vociferous of the new breed, Vincent Gaudry, who makes an astonishing range of white and red Sancerres, each wine pulsating with character and deserving of attention.