The Loire — Home of Sauvignon Blanc & Pascal Jolivet

Thursday, March 15, 2018

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The Sauvignon Blanc grape varietal produces aromatic medium-bodied white wines and is grown in many regions worldwide. The wines are usually bracingly refreshing; and on the nose Sauvignon Blanc wines tend to show some notes of grassiness and grapefruit; depending on the climate and country you might get some green pepper, melon, flint and gooseberry.

Sauvignon Blanc from France

While Sauvignon Blanc thrives and makes great wines in New Zealand, Chile and California, it is native to France, specifically from Bordeaux and the Loire River Valley, and arguably shows its best expression in those wines. DNA profiling showed that Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet France are the genetic parents of the beloved red varietal Cabernet Sauvignon — also native to France. The testing suggests, too, that it originated in the Loire.


Loire River Valley

The Loire River Valley produces the third-largest volume of wine after Bordeaux and Rhone. France's largest and most diverse wine region takes its name for the longest and most famous river that meanders on a 629-mile-long path from its headwaters in the Massif Central to its mouth near Nantes on the Atlantic Coast. While this region is famous for its crisp white wines, virtually every type of wine is made here, including light red wines, rosés, sweet wines and sparkling wines. As many of the wines in Europe are named for the regions from which they are made, the most familiar names associated with the white wines of this region are Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, Muscadet and Vouvray. The owner of one of the up-and-coming producers of traditional Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé was here in Jamaica on a whirlwind visit, conducting two wine dinners in his very short trip. Here is what we tasted from easy-going, enthusiastic Pascal Jolivet.


The Wines of Pascal Jolivet

One hundred and twenty-five miles south of Paris, the house of Pascal Jolivet was founded in 1987 and is one of the most dynamic domaines in France's Loire Valley. Pascal Jolivet's family has been in the wine business throughout the Loire Valley since the early 1900s but their name was never on a label as the producer until Pascal, the third generation, started the Pascal Jolivet brand. Based in Sancerre, the domaine now owns over 120 acres of prime vineyards spread across the appellations of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. A key differentiator is Pascal's desire to create natural, terroir-driven wines through biodynamic and organic farming using low-intervention wine-making techniques.

Guests had the opportunity to taste four of Jolivet's wines at the dinners organised by Pascal Jolivet local importer Select Brands at Uncorked.


Pascal Jolivet Sancerre

This is a dry, medium-bodied white wine with lime, melon and gravel on the nose, with a crisp tart green apple taste. A beautiful example of an old world Sauvignon Blanc.


Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé – Jolivet Pouilly Fumé A vibrant yellow colour with a nose of citrus and mineral. On the palate the wine is medium in body, incredibly precise and layered with clean, driving acidity.


Pascal Jolivet Pouilly-Fumé Les Terres Blanches The Terres Blanches is a wonderfully pure Sauvignon Blanc with a driving minerality along with grass and citrus.


Pascal Jolivet Sancerre Rouge

Made with 100% Pinot Noir, this is a subtle, unsophisticated, very approachable medium-bodied red wine with a hint of spice.

It was an absolute pleasure to meet Pascal and enjoy a wine-pairing dinner with him. Hopefully, the next time it will be in Sancerre.

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