From: Coteaux du Loir, France
Varietal: Chenin Blanc
Taste: The 2020 L'Effraie is a vibrant expression of Chenin Blanc, planted on soils consisting of clay and flint. Influenced by drought, this vintage presents a rich aromatic profile with tangerine, quince, peach, lanolin, and a hint of honeycomb, underpinned by a flinty minerality and a whisper of dried flowers. It's bright and plush on the palate, balancing ripe fruits with a firm, acid-driven backbone and a finish that lingers with elegance and balance.
Pairing: With its 92-point rating from John Gilman and its versatile pairing potential, the 2020 L'Effraie shines in its ability to complement a range of foods. From creamy chicken or pork dishes to rich seafood like crabmeat and lobster, this Chenin Blanc will make your evening. The quality of its fruit and its high acidity makes it a perfect companion for Cantonese sweet 'n' sour dishes and a match for lighter meats, rich seafood, and soft cheeses. We’re sharing a recipe for corn and clam chowder as our suggested pairing today— mostly just because pairing chowder with anything is extremely difficult, and this is one of the wines that’ll be a yummy pairing. (Sparkling wine is a fantastic alternative for chowder, too.)
Corn And Clam Chowder
By Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey
About. In the quaint and often overlooked viticultural landscape of the Loire Valley, just north of the illustrious region of Touraine, lies the small yet industrious appellation of Coteaux du Loir. This unique area, on the shores of the meandering Loir River - a small “sibling” to the more prominent Loire - boasts a mere 70 hectares of vineyards that beautifully encapsulate the essence of Loire Valley winemaking.
In a region once ravaged by frost and time, the AOCs of Jasnières and Coteaux-du-Loir have witnessed a renaissance spearheaded by visionaries like Eric Nicolas. Nicolas, a city-dweller turned oenophile, and his wife, Christine, transformed a humble property with grazing fields and grains into a flourishing vineyard. Today, the estate stretches over 14 hectares, divided into 65 parcels scattered across six villages, where the old vines are tended with a combination of traditional and innovative techniques.
The vineyards, thriving on a unique blend of flint, clay, and tuffeau soils, are cultivated biodynamically, a practice the Nicolas family embraced and have been certified in since 2011. This commitment to the land and its cycles is evident in their approach to winemaking, where they allow nature to lead the way. The Chenin Blanc grapes, the backbone of Bellivière's production, are handpicked and carefully sorted, sometimes over multiple passes in years favorable for botrytis.
In the cellar, each parcel is vinified individually in barrels of various shapes and sizes, enabling precise blending choices each vintage. The use of native yeasts and minimal intervention during fermentation reflects the Nicolas family's philosophy of letting nature decide the final character of each cuvée. This approach results in wines that range from demi-sec to off-dry, their residual sugars adding complexity without overwhelming the palate.
The Domaine de Belliviere's modern winemaking facility, established in 2015, is a marvel of design and functionality. Its three-floor layout, which allows gravity-fed winemaking, epitomizes the blend of tradition and innovation that characterizes the estate.
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