La Porte Saint Jean

The central Loire Valley is one of the most exciting and dynamic wine cultures on planet Earth. It feels like Burgundy in the 1980s, with a host of new producers taking over the vines and bringing the local Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc to an entirely new level. This is a revolution that will not be televised, but that can be drunk!

Today's example is Sylvain Dittière, who started his domaine, Porte Saint Jean, only in 2010. But Sylvain is no newbie: He learned to make wine from Antoine Foucault (who by the way is now reported to be making the wines at Clos Rougeard). After follow-up internships with Thierry Germain, Marc Tempé, and Gerard Gauby, he was already very well pedigreed when he started making wines under his own label.

No surprise, Dittière opted to follow his mentors in making wines that are pure and natural. The wines are very much in the style that is emerging from this Central Loire scene: they capture the natural essence of Chenin and Cabernet Franc grown in their limestone-rich terroirs, but they are not afraid to show the structure and intensity that seem to have been picked up through the power of inspiration from Burgundy and Bordeaux.

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