2016 Domaine des Roches Neuves Saumur Champigny

Another clean, svelte and tasty red from the Loire. Cabernet Franc in all its raspberry leaf and bright red fruit. Tangy berries and some sweet green herbals show just over the line ripeness. There’s no sourness to the green flavours and the well mingled tannin and acid are mouth-wateringly ripe. A lovely compact palate, fruit and texture held tight and more interesting after three days of oxygen exposure. Great pedigree.

13% alcohol. Cork. $48.

93 points

2016 Jean-François Mérieau Cent Visages Touraine Côt

100% Malbec or Côt as they say in the Loire Valley. Pungently clean perfume of Turkish delight, woody spices veering into star anise, startlingly so. Below are some bright cherries and berries. Terrific flow of spiced fruit with silky tannin and acidity. Floats in the mouth, leaving a gentle waft to linger. Fine and whistle clean. Those lovely obsessives at the City Wine Store certainly know how to tickle my fancy.

12.50% alcohol. Cork. $41.

93 points.

2009 Domaine Coteau de la Biche Vouvray Sec

Smells of rich exotic honey, cut apple and old Catholic Church candles. Chenin can be unbearably large and hefty but this just stays on the side of polite and charming due to some ripe acidity that cuts against the richness. Almost so much that the whole may seem a bit attenuated. Not so, that fruit keeps nagging its presence and builds so well as it slides through. It says sec but there’s a cushion. A terrific tension that seems so typical of the Loire’s douceur…the luxury Stelvin screwcap may help…

12.50%. Screwcap! Was about $30.

92 points but more for sense of place and clean poise.

2016 Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc

Chenin Blanc with a lot of spit and polish. Opens with a bit of spritzy CO2 reduction and noticeable oak. A quick double decant accidentally losing a mouthful down the sink, careful, and the fruit came swimming to the surface as the finest bubbles faded. None of those broad, brassy sulphide yellow flavours of careless Loire Chenin but delicious apples, yellow stone fruit and gin and tonic freshness. Extremely classy fruit, perfect high level acidity and a touch of oak savouriness are so poised it’s almost impossible to say if it’s dry or there’s a touch of residual. Really, who cares, it counterpointed sushi and sashimi so well. Oishhhiii…..hai.

13.50%. Cork. About $100, alas, could drink this more often.

96 points.