Changing the apero game : Saumur Chenin Blanc

Reserve des Vignerons, Saumur AOC, 2011

Region: Saumur AOC, Loire Valley, France

Grape: 100% Chenin Blanc

Price: around 6 euros / $8


Is there something Frencher than the apero? How can you even translate it into English? It’s basically a pre-meal, meal. Sort of pre-gaming a meal with a few glasses of wine and some light fare (olives, lunchmeats, crackers,…)

I had kind of an impromptu dinner at my uncle’s last night, and of course we started things off with an apero. Now, traditional apero wine in my family is Bourgogne Aligoté so I was extremely surprised when my uncle brought out a different apero wine! Shock, stupor, confusion, and all that range of emotions I usually experience when trying to understand women and that I didn’t expect to feel at the sacrosanct apero time.

But anyway, new wine for the apero, from the Loire Valley, more specifically the Saumur AOC (centered on the town of the same name). Wines from that region are predominantly made with Chenin Blanc or Cabernet Franc. A distinctive feature of the region, other than the influence of the Loire River of course, are the chalky soils made of tuffeau, a white stone that is often house to build houses in the region.

Here's a example of tuffeau architecture

Here’s a example of tuffeau architecture

Eye: Pale lemon

Nose: Clean, medium plus nose. Pear and yellow apple with hints of honeysuckle. There definitely are some smoky, flinty undertones.

Palate: Dry, medium minus acidity, medium body, medium finish.

Citrus aromas that transition to yellow apple with honeysuckle and the smoky, flinty undertone from the nose is still there and kind of supports the wine all the way into the finish

Food pairings: Great for the apero of course! It would be nice with cheese, especially goat cheese and it would work with seafood too.

Overall opinion: Check the price. Yup, it’s a below $10 bottle of wine. And it’s very enjoyable; I’ve had pricier wines that I enjoyed less. It’s not extremely sophisticated but neither is it too simple. The smoky notes are a nice distinctive feature that helps the wine stand out. For a wine that price I think it’s a bargain. I wasn’t even mad at my uncle for breaking tradition.

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