The Sauvignon, which is particularly sensitive to the quality of the terroir, achieves its more complex aromas in the vineyards of Centre-Loire. The origin of this grape variety is much debated (Centre or perhaps Southwestern France).
It presents characteristic bunches with coned-shaped, very tight berries, a thick skin, a firm and crisp flesh. It has characteristic aromas marked by the soil and the climate.
The character of wines is expressed more rapidly when they are grown in chalky soils. Marls and flinty-clay strata produce wines that need more time to develop and are long-term cellaring wines (from 2 to 5 years or even 10 years). The range of aromas developed in the Sauvignon wines is particularly rich and complex: the great taste of “flint” but also fruity notes (blackcurrant, passionfruit, lychee, orange, grapefruit, guava), floral notes (iris, elderberry, rose, acacia, linden), vegetal notes(box, broom, rhubarb, asparagus) and others such as musk or roasted meat.
Known in the region of Burgundy since the XIVth century, this grape variety is certainly even older. The bunch of the Pinot Noir is small and compact (pinecone-shaped) with little tight berries (ovoid-shaped) and with a thin and smooth blue-black-colored skin.
The juice of the Pinot Noir is colorless. The maceration of the skin (that contains the colored-pigments) with the juice during the alcoholic fermentation gives the Pinot Noir its nice cherry-red color with a slightly purple tinge. Because of its relative “fragility” it requires very specific production conditions including a climate neither too warm nor too cold and well drained soils (particularly chalky ones) in order to achieve its best expression.
For young wines, the bouquet is marked by morello cherry, violet, wood notes and with aging it is marked by aromas of game, truffle and cherries in brandy.
The only grape used to make Beaujolais. Gamay is also grown in Southwest France and the Loire Valley. Vinified into a rosé, the resulting wine is fresh and aromatic. In traditional fermentation on the skins, it yields a red wine with very ripe fruit aromas, fresh and easy to drink.
This is a less aromatic white variety still used in Alsace and Pouilly sur Loire, and has been largely supplanted by the Sauvignon Blanc. Grapes cultivated in Pouilly sur Loire were supplied to “Les Halles” in Paris in the middle of XIXth century for eating. It subsists on about 35 ha and gives fresh and light characteristics to the wine.