Bubbles over the Loire | Mon Ange, Fillibulle and La Tour Grise

We ate with good friends the other night at ‘La Part des Anges’ in Chinon. Given the name of the restaurant there was only one choice to start the evening: Domaine de la Noblaie’s sparkling rose, Mon Ange. And  very good choice it was. Apricot rather than pink in colour, very fresh on the nose with peach and white fruit aromas. The mousse was gentle rather than aggressive but there was a real liveliness in the mouth and lots of red fruit in the flavour – hardly surprising since this is a 100% Cabernet Franc wine.

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We paid 22€; the cellar door price is around 10€ – and at that price it’s excellent value. There’s no UK stockist that I can trace.

Similar price for Paul and Frederik Filliatreau’s Fillibulle (ie Filli-Bubble) which we tasted the next morning after a quick tour of the Grand Vignolle, their troglodytic mansion’ built into the limestone cliff. Slightly more pink in colour but similar freshness and vivacity. Both Mon Ange and Fillibulle would make excellent aperitif wines. In the UK Yapp Brothers in Mere stock it for £13.95 a bottle. Another score for Cabernet Franc wines – definitely one of my favourite grapes.

 Fillibubbles

Our next stop on the Loire tasting tour was Chateau La Tour Grise, where was had a Saumur Brut made from 100% Chenin Blanc. This is a serious sparkling wine with zero dosage made from biodynamic grapes on an estate that’s been biodynamic for 15 years. Francoise Gourdon explained that they stop the first fermentation when there’s still some residual sugar in the wine but then use that sugar to fuel the second fermentation. The resultant wine has spice, white pepper and peach kernel on the nose and an edge of bitterness in the finish to keep the feeling of freshness.

That’s enough sparkling wines for the moment. But there are others to write about later – plus a very special Cab Franc from Domaine de la Chevalerie. Watch this space.

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