The Loire is France's longest river, rising in Ardèche in France's Massif Central and flowing north then west to St Nazaire; as a wine region, it is confined to a strip of north-west France running from south of Paris to the Atlantic.
Being northerly, its wines have a family characteristic of invigorating lightness - a classic charm more than weight and strength. It is, in this sense, northern France's equal-and-opposite to the Rhône.
Domaine des Hauts Perrays Cremant de Loire Brut NV (£12.95 Lea & Sandeman) traditional-method Loire fizz from a blend of Chenin with Chardonnay and Cab Franc; golden yellow in the glass with fine bubbles. Ripe orchard fruit, citrus, minerality and some leesiness; very elegant, refreshing and straighforward in a light sort of way.
Enjoyable, correct and pleasant. Serve as an aperitif.
La Noë 2010 Muscadet-Côtes de Grandlieu (£11.95, Lea & Sandeman) pale, restrained and delicate; yet quietly elegant, balanced and compelling. Lemony freshness, wet stones and leesiness, poised and precise - as fresh, proper and deliciously promising as a young debutante. Good.
Serve as an aperitif or with light fish, such as plaice.
Savennières Château d’Epiré 'Mœlleux' 2009 (£16.25, Yapp) deep golden sandy yellow, the musty-cellar aromas disappear with aeration, leaving a rich and honeyed perfume with floral blossom, citrus, beeswax and slate. Generous, waxy texture with sweet spice - like baked apples sprinkled with sugar-spice.
Wonderfully balanced and very elegant - full, rich and off-dry yet refreshingly citrus and mineral. Very Good and will continue to improve with age.
Match with quiche, chicken liver pate, salmon or scallops.
Other related articles
Matching Loire Wines and Food - with Fiona Beckett
Matching Loire and Sushi with YO!Sushi
Review of La Noë by Jancis Robinson
Loire Wines - twitter, website
Lea & Sandeman - twitter
Yapp - twitter