Last week, the iDealwine team escaped the Parisian heatwave and headed to Jacky Blot’s Domaine de la Taille aux Loups, our annual tradition of taking the team to visit a domain for a day of tasting… After Burgundy in 2017 and Champagne in 2018, we set our sights on the Loire Valley. The day would include a visit of the vineyard and Jacky Blot’s winery, a top-notch tasting, delicious lunch and the final of our tasting Olympics.
This year, our team (almost 40 of us!) rolled out of bed to catch the 7.30am train from Paris-Montparnasse to Saint-Pierre-des-Corps. From there, we caught a bus to Montlouis-sur-Loire. To make up for the early start: coffee, tea and pastries… (Thank you Constance!)
We stepped off the bus to a very warm welcome from Jacky Blot himself. His legendary moustache, beaming smile and bright pink polo immediately inspire conviviality. Word has it that he woke up at 5am to prepare for our arrival… what a host! There’s no time wasting with Jacky. As he repeated, “an entire day wouldn’t be enough to show you everything”, we got started right away with a visit of his vineyards. He gave detailed explanations of the work in the vineyard, the massal selection of vines, organic viticulture, manual harvests… Having seen his 12-hectare monopole Clos Michet and the superb Clos de Mosny (a real clos, as in a walled vineyard), Jacky took us to the cellar where he vinifies sparkling wines. We learn about how his famed Triple 0 cuvée is made, before heading off to the cool of his chalk cave where the domain’s great wines mature in oak barrels.
A top-drawer tasting
Jacky Blot, ever the perfectionist and extremely generous, had decided to present us with no fewer than 40 cuvées! But time was against us and there again, with the effusive Jacky Blot, we would have needed another day to get through it all. Nevertheless, we had the pleasure of tasting almost 25 cuvées, giving us the chance to discover (or rediscover!) his talent with a variety of sparkling, white, red and sweet wines, both recent and old vintages. More than anything, the tasting showed the extent to which these wines have everything to gain from aging. So, wine lovers, be patient! La Taille aux Loups’ Chenin are delicious in youth, but just wait a few years, and you’ll that they harmonize over time. Likewise for the red wines; cellar them for 8 to 10 years, at least. You won’t be disappointed by the result.
Les Belles Caves, a delicious dining experience courtesy of Jacky Blot
We then enjoyed a delicious lunch at Les Belles Caves, a restaurant in the centre of Tours owned by Jacky Blot, where the menu is refined, and the wines perfectly chosen. A Triple Zero slowly aged on racks and a Clos de Mosny 2012.
Tasting Olympics: the final
The cherry on top was yet to come: it was time for our finalists to battle it out as the iDealwine’s finest blind tasters. The two teams blind tasted a 2009 Châteauneuf du Pape from Domaine de La Vieille Julienne, before presenting their impressions to our export jury of Jacky Blot, iDealwine’s three founders, Pierre Renauld (founder of 228 Litres, a Paris wine bar ‘vinified’ by iDealwine) and Philippe Barret, our unparalleled taster, along with Hannah Libine, an excellent taster and former member of the iDealwine team. The finalists did brilliantly, both finding the region. Elsa, Constance and Emmanuel of the marketing team set themselves apart with their excellent description of the wine and by finding the appellation.
Back to Paris
All good things come to an end and so, arms filled with gifts, the iDealwine team crossed the city of Tours by foot under a glaring sun, to catch the train home.
We could like to thank Jacky Blot and his team for their generosity and warm welcome… we wholeheartedly hope to come back again soon.