Requests for rose are still abundant. However, with cooler evenings, our search is on for lighter to medium-bodied reds. When it comes to expressive light red wines, there is one region I adore most – the Loire Valley. Most famous for their briny citrus fueled Sauvignon Blanc and unctuous Chenin Blanc, the savvy New Yorker is becoming hip to all things rouge from the Loire. Yet for some, the Loire remains a mystery so I’ll shed some light.

The Loire Valley is the most north-eastern wine-growing region in France, spanning along the Loire River from the Atlantic into Central France, Beaujolais area. Kimmeridgian soil predominantly makes up the dirt content of Northern France, but the distinct and indigenous Tuffeau stone is particular to the Loire. Rumour has it that the Valley sits atop an ancient sea where a layer of fossilised oyster shells, crustacean, and sand contribute to the unique terroir of the Loire. Yet who knows, these guys will tell you anything to sell you a bottle of wine.

The most well-known red varietal from the Loire Valley is Cabernet Franc popularised by Anjou and Chinon. Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Malbec (referred to as Cot in the local dialect) are common, while Pineau d’ Aunis, a rustic edgy pinot noir like berry, is among others native to the land.

Sancerre is world famous for Sauvignon Blanc. However, did you know they make killer Pinot Noir? Yes, indeed. David Milligan Selections imports a beauty from Domaine Fournier; the “Les Belles Vignes” rouge from 2008 is absolutely singing right now. Tasting of ripe cherries, a little smoke and leather, this medium-bodied Pinot Noir will not disappoint. For twenty-six bucks, you’ll never look at Sancerre the same.

Malbec is amongst the most popular varietals in fall; with soft tannins and lush fruitful ease, it is an enjoyable wine. In the Loire Valley, Cot is Malbec and Nicolas Paget uses 100% of it in the Cotcerto 2009. Paget’s vineyards are located in the Touraine, where Cot has been grown since ancient times. Cotcerto is supple and approachable, perfect for any fan of its Argentine kin. At $18 you’ll get a red-purplish wine abound with suave blackberry, dark chocolate, and hints of pepper.

The commune of Saint Nicolas de Bourgueil vinifies the most elegant Cabernet Francs I have ever tasted. Noel Bougrier oversees the La Martiniere, bottled in 2009. An embodiment of wine sophistication, its polished edges lead into raspberries which are then balanced by its innate structure haunted by a friendly ghost of the wild essence typical of Cab Franc. Simply put, for under $20, this wine is fantastic!

Keep in mind this was a just a brief introduction to a special wine growing region, I encourage you to delve into all the quirky grapes and rare blends they produce and export to this fine city.

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