Le Clos du Chateau Valencay Reviews

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“I'm a Sauvignon Blanc fan. You might have gathered...”

written by degbert on 10/11/2009

I'm a Sauvignon Blanc fan. You might have gathered that from all my S-B reviews. The Loire valley features heavily, as the 'home' of the good Sauvignon Blanc. But the problem is that, as a light wine, anything with significant taste on the food front will all but drown out the subtleties of the wine. For a herb crust, or cheese crumb topping, or even a heavyweight steaky fish, or even more so poultry, S-B doesn't cope.

And the problem, normally, is plan B for white wine is a biggish jump to Chardonnay, or a punt on a Chenin or some other grape. I would put a Hunter Valley Semillon, by the way, in the same category as S-B: its cut-grass aroma and citrus freshness just won't cope with a big tasting main course.

Chardonnay, however, is fat, full and can be a bit overbearing. I won't name names, but there are meals out where, the next day, all you can remember is the overpowering New World Chardonnay that rather spoilt it all. Of course, there are great ones, but not many of us can spent every day of the week forking out top dollar on a bone-dry, flinty Chablis, or an intriguing, limestone and apple Meursault.

So what to do. Here's my top tip for the day. One of the most recent additions to the long list of Appelations Controlee is in the sixties, where a tiny little area around the village of Valencay was given the prestigious award. With it comes the responsibility (and governance of quality control) of churning out the right wine in the right quantities at the right quality. It is a S-B, 90% or so. The rest uses a Chardonnay grape to give it a bit more zing, a bit more body, a bit more flavour.

This allows it the chance to stand up to a swordfish with chilli, but stops you regretting your choice of wine which kills your enjoyment of a decent meal.

If that all sounds a bit pompous then just give it a try - you'll recognize there is some middle ground between S-B and Chardonnay, and it needs filling. This stuff does it very well indeed.

Hard to find but not too expensive and worth the effort.

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