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White wines from the Loire Valley

Friday - 8/12/2011, 9:56am  ET

Scott Greenberg, special to wtop.com

The wines of the Loire Valley have long been a favorite of wine lovers throughout Europe and sought out by knowledgeable consumers here in the United States for decades.

However, most Loire Valley wines go unnoticed by most wine buyers, which is too bad, since so many of these wines are just what the wine doctor ordered for cooling down on hot days.

Here are a few choice Loire Valley wines to slip into your picnic basket or serve well-chilled at your next party.

Made exclusively from chenin blanc, the 2009 Champalou Vouvray, Loire Valley, France has a lovely nose of peaches and nectarines. The full mouthfeel offers up more peach fruit notes and hints of ripe apples and cloves. The long finish is full and rich, with notes of wet stones and spices. The wine offers an excellent value and a solid introduction to this splendid region. $17

Also made from chenin blanc is the 2010 Domaine des Aubuisieres Vouvray Cuvee de Silex, Loire Valley, France. This wine has a delightful nose of apple blossom, lemon and minerals. Citrus flavors and light honey notes dominate the palate and add just a touch of sweetness at the end, but the wine maintains a very clean, crisp finish, thanks to substantial acidity. $18

A delicious introduction to the Sancerre appellation is the 2009 Thomas Crele Sancerre, Loire Valley, France. Made from 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc, the nose of ripe pears and orange cloves is memorable. In the mouth, the wine feels lush and full with flavors of pears, apples and the ever-present mineral notes. The medium-bodied finish is smooth and well balanced, with hints of lemon peel popping in at the end. $24

Another sauvignon blanc from Sancere is the 2010 Vacheron Sancerre, Loire Valley, France. This wine has a nose of honey and minerals that is rich and powerful. On the palate, it is intense, yet bright with predominate flavors of pear, white peach and nectarine. The finish is long and lush with hints of wet stone at the end. $27

For a special treat, try the 2007 Baumard Savennieres Trie Speciale from the Anjou region of the Loire Valley. This Chenin Blanc features a nose of ripe apples, white flowers and wet stone. The palate has a polished texture that features a complex mixture of roasted almonds, white nectarines and honey. The long finish continues to entice the tongue with notes of toast and minerals. A delicious alternative to the everyday chardonnay. $28

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