• Domaine Leduc Frouin – Anjou

Sometimes you find a small family run domaine that makes wines that tick all the boxes. Leduc Frouin falls into this category – the wines are great value for money, the welcome at the domaine is always warm, it’s run by a tight family unit of brother, sister and mum and the wines are always reliable, pure, well made.

Antoine Leduc gave us a tasting of the 2013’s from tank yesterday.  It’s a great way of getting a handle on the current vintage and let’s face it, 2013 has been billed as a bit of a disaster for the Loire. But, this is where it pays to know your growers.  Yes, of course there are vintages that are more difficult than others and yes, 2013 is not a year that is going to produce wines to lay down, wines for great contemplation. Does this mean there is nothing decent to drink from this vintage then?  No, of course not – if Leduc Frouin’s wines are anything to go by there are some lovely wines, for early drinking yes, for pleasure yes.  Just choose the right wine for the right moment and you won’t be disappointed.  As and when we get some hot sunny weather we’ll definitely be reaching for Antoine’s AC Rosé de Loire or his crisp yet delightful Vin de Pays Chardonnay.

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Taking a sample of the Vin de Pays Chardonnay from tank

Chardonnay Vin de Pays 2013

Sample from tank, the wine has remained on its fine lees.  Lovely classic Chardonnay nose with hints of pineapple and exotic fruit.  Crisp and crunchy on the palate with a touch of citrus and grapefruit on the finish.  I’m not normally a big fan of Vin de Pays wines in the Loire, preferring to buy from more suited terroir but have to admit to being quite seduced by this one.

Rosé de Loire 2013

From tank, the wine has been racked once and aged on its lees.  The direct pressing has given it a really pretty colour, delicate and pale (don’t tell me this isn’t going to influence you, it is). Fresh sherbety fruit salad on the nose, crisp and fresh on the palate.  A very dry rosé (my preference) that will make great summer drinking.  I never knew Grolleau could be so fruity.

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Colour in a rosé is important

Rosé d’Anjou 2013

Rosé d’Anjou has to be a little sweeter as this is controlled by appellation law.  The wine has been filtered once and will have another filtration before bottling to make sure it’s ‘pauvre en germes’.  Keen not to strip the flavour from the wine, Antoine opts for this more gentle filtration over a greater surface area that is kinder to the wine and allows him to use less sulphur at bottling.  Why is this important you might ask?  Well, if there’s residual sugar left in a wine after the alcoholic fermentation has finished and there is still yeast present in the wine, the wine could start to re-ferment in bottle.  So, it’s important to make sure there is no yeast lurking in the final wine before bottling while doing it in the most gentle way possible to preserve flavour, aroma and colour.  Bigger, more industrial producers will opt for what is called a ‘sterile’ filtration which strips out more from the wine and is a more aggressive process.  Does that make sense? Anyway, I digress – back to the wine.  Real strawberries and cream on the nose, it’s light and fresh and the 18g of residual sugar is perfectly balanced by a crisp acidity.  Not one for Rosé d’Anjou normally, I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t sit back and enjoy this on a summer’s day sat in the garden.  Dangerously easy to drink.

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Tasting from tank is always a great experience

Cabernet d’Anjou 2013

Cabernet d’Anjou has to be a little sweeter than Rosé d’Anjou and can only be made from Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.  The sweetness gives it a fuller, richer palate.  Nice fruit and good acidity keeps it in balance and it would be great served alongside a bowl of summer fruits with chantilly.  I’m also told on good authority that it went rather well with pancakes stuffed with smoked salmon and crème fraiche the other day!

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Antoine off to collect another sample!

Coteaux du Layon 2012

I’m sure you heard all the horror stories about 2012 here in the Layon valley when it comes to sweet wine. Many growers made no sweet wine at all and grapes were left hanging on the vines.  For this reason, Antoine decided to make just one cuvée in 2012 and it’s still in tank. Rigorous selection of grapes and multiple passes through the vineyard  enabled him to make a wine with 120g residual sugar.  A lovely aroma of preserved pineapple on the nose is backed up with honey which has developed from the wine being kept on its lees.  It’s nicely balanced and would be delicious as an apero or with paté, game terrines or fresh fruit salad.  A touch of grapefruit creeps in on the finish.

We’ll be happy to take you to meet the family and taste the wines as part of our Loire Wine Discovery one day wine tour.  Why not come and join us, or if in Paris, hope on the TGV and we’ll see you here in Anjou for day of relaxation, great food and lovely wines.