Fiefs Vendéens: Loire Valley Wines of Quality & Value

We were plowing through the agenda at a sales meeting a couple of days ago when one of my associates offered to share some wines that he was presenting to a customer later in the day. They were from Fiefs Vendéens, a small AOVDQS in France’s Loire Valley south of Nantes, the production area famous for Muscadet.

I have always been a big fan of the wines of the Loire Valley. The variety, quality and value are incredible. You’ll find delicious whites, reds, rosés, sparklers, sweet, dry—they’re all produced there. And although many common grapes are used in this region (sauvignon blanc, pinot noir, chardonnay, etc.), several other less common ones are also well employed, including some of my favorites: chenin blanc, cabernet franc and melon de bourgogne.

The Fiefs Vendéens appellation was created in 1984 and comprises four sub-zones named after their respective villages: Brem, Mareuil, Pissotte and Vix. The main grapes are chenin blanc, sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, gamay and pinot noir. The maritime climate (the Atlantic Ocean is nearby) helps keep the wines well-structured (nice acidity), with restrained alcohol, and subtle fruit.

The wines we tasted were from a biodynamic producer in Brem named Domaine Saint-Nicolas. The soil there is made up primarily of schist and silex, as opposed to the clay and silex found in the other three villages. Saint Nicolas is one of the few producers in the area to age their wines in oak barrels and the wines are clean, well-structured and reasonably priced (most should retail for less than $20). The proprietor is a passionate gentlemen named Thierry Michon, who is a tireless advocate for Fiefs Vendeens and biodynamic farming. His wines are imported in the United States by Jon-David Headrick Selections, a specialist in small production Loire Valley wines. (Disclosure: I proudly sell these wines in California.)

~ by Thomas on October 3, 2010.

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