A recent introduction to the wines of Saumur producer Melaric left me gobsmacked. How was I only now finding out about them? The depth, complexity, and terroir signature of every wine was so profound as to be almost unbelievable for such reasonable prices. For a Loire lover like me, it's a very happy discovery. Much of their "terroir signature" owes to the Saumur-Puy-Notre-Dame, a rocky hill of limestone, clay, and silex, whose soil imbues the wines with a more mineral, chiseled personality than typical of Saumur or Saumur-Champigny. This is an AOC to keep tabs on. Melaric, established only about a decade ago, is a fairly new name in the Loire. Winemakers Aymeric Hillaire and Melanie Cunin spent many years prior learning the ropes at such venerated addresses as Chateau Pradeaux and Bernard Baudry. It's not surprising, then, that they farm organically, pursue lower yields, and use large, neutral wood.Like the domaine, the appellation of Saumur-Puy-Notre-Dame itself is a fairly recent (2009) creation. I suspect the lack of track record for both is why prices are so reasonable.
Loire Valley Wines
The Loire Valley is France’s greatest source of value for anyone looking for elegant, terroir-driven wines. Our collection celebrates the region’s great diversity, with the mineral-driven whites of Muscadet and Sancerre, the beautiful Chenin Blancs and Cabernet Francs from villages like Vouvray and Chinon, and natural wines from everywhere in the region. Sometimes wonderfully fresh and gulpable, sometimes serious and age-worthy, the prices are always very reasonable.