Exploring the Loire Valley

The Madison Tasters Club is a monthly tasting group comprised of non-industry, non-professional consumers of wine. The group is moderated by a professional Sommelier who selects the evening’s wines. Each month the group will taste six selections with a specific theme. The goal of the Madison Tasters Club is to educate, evaluate and create tasting notes to share the consumer’s perspective with a broader audience on the Bottle Pros blog.

The sixth gathering of the Madison Tasters Club was on April 24th when we explored the wines of the Loire Valley. The group was asked specific questions about each wine regarding visual, aromatic and palate impressions. Notes have been compiled based on the group’s impressions with the most common answers used as well as a few quotes from participants.

Domaine des Baumards Savennieres 2016

Technical Data:  Produced from 100% Chenin Blanc grapes that were whole bunch pressed and fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures. The wine then spends 9 months on the lees in tank before being bottled.

Group Impressions: A pale yellow, medium full, white wine with tree fruit aromas of apples, peaches and pears and floral notes of honeysuckle. The palate is rich and textured with similar fruit characters to the nose and subtle hints of almond and hay.  


“It has complexity, amazing texture, rich and long aftertaste”

“It’s a white that tastes like summer.”

“Nice Minerality”

Dominique Roger Sancerre Domaine du Carrou 2018

Technical Data:  From the Sancerre AOC this wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from 30+ year old vines grown on caillotes, terres blanches, and silex type soils. The grapes were hand harvested and fermented with indigenous yeast in stainless steel tanks.

Group Impressions: Yellow with green glints, this Sancerre offers pronounced citrus aromas with hints of fennel and banana. The palate reveals lemon, lime and a bit of peachiness with classic flinty minerality.


“Long finish, yummy, citrus.”

“Quite pronounced nose, grapefruit, citrus rind, melon and perhaps some banana.”

“Love the nose, many aromas to sort out.”

Regis Minet Pouilly-Fume Vieilles Vignes 2017 

Technical Data:  This is 100% Sauvignon Blanc from the Pouilly-Fume AOC. The grapes are grown on Clay, Marl, and Kimmeridgian Limestone soils. The grapes undergo a slow fermentation in temperature-controlled stainless steel cuves for 3-4 weeks with indigenous yeasts. The wine is then aged for 6 months on fine lees in stainless steel.

Group Impressions: The wine pours straw in color and offers a bouquet of citrus and tropical fruits. The palate shows distinct minerality paired to predominantly grapefruit and citrus fruit flavors.


“It is bright and clean but got a toasty note right away”

“The taste fills my mouth nicely, has a long finish.”

“It’s balanced and bright.”

Domaine Les Hautes Noelles Red Gamay 2018

Technical Data: This wine is comprised of 100% Gamay grown in the Cotes de Grandlieu sub-zone of Muscadet. The winery takes multiple passes through the vines to pick the ripest grapes. Fermentation is done by Carbonic maceration for 5 days without sulphur. There is one racking after the malolactic fermentation and the wine is bottled unfiltered.

Group Impressions: Pinkish in color this light bodied Gamay has a lovely big bouquet of red fruits, rhubarb and spices. The palate is bright with flavors of strawberry, sour cherry and raspberry. Light and refreshing the wine has outstanding aromatics and a great balance between fruit and structure.


“I could smell this all day!”

“It’s a nice, light, spring red.”

“Refreshing for a red, good substitute for a Rosé for an afternoon cocktail. The floral nose was immediate for me.”

Clau de Nell Cabernet Franc 2012

Technical Data: This wine is made from 100% Demeter certified Cabernet Franc grapes grown in the Anjou AOC of the Loire.  Winemaking was under the talented hand of Anne Claude LeFlaive. The wine is aged for 12 months on fine lees in French oak casks, used five times before, in ancient troglodyte cellars cut into the limestone hillside on the property, followed by six months in a stainless steel vat.

Group Impressions: The wines color shows its age described by one of our tasters as “beef red” and brick like color. The nose is redolent of red fruits with herb and forest notes.  Cherry fruit is accented with a barnyard nuance and some wood spice influence. The wine is complex and offers a lingering palate.


“Floral notes, balance tannins/acid.”

“Complex’, fruit finish, needs aging and yet very drinkable now.”

“Long finish, tannins”

Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Les Galuches 2015

Technical Data:  Comprised of 100% organic Cabernet Franc grown on sand and gravel soils in the Chinon AOC. After fermentation the wine rests 6 months in 500 litre double barriques before bottling.

Group Impressions: Ruby in color with red fruit aromas and notes of bell pepper on the nose. The palate has an earthy nature with black cherry fruit, medium full tannins and black pepper spice.


“I like this wine for its strong bite… Dances in your mouth!”

“I loved this wine! I thought it was earthy, yet bright and floral.”

“Enough fruit to balance the earthiness.”