Domaine du Salvard Cheverny 2017, Loire Valley, France

Of all the appellations in France’s vast and varied Loire Valley, Cheverny is one of the smallest and least known. But the area, on the eastern edge of the large Touraine region of the Loire, offers unusual and distinct wines that are well worth trying.

While producers in most Loire appellations use single varieties in their wines – Chenin Blanc in Vouvray or Cabernet Franc in Chinon, for instance – Cheverny is more about blends, both in the whites and the much smaller output of reds.

Domaine du Salvard Cheverny 2017, Loire Valley, France

While Sauvignon Blanc is the dominant white grape, Chardonnays and others play supporting roles.

A standout is Domaine du Salvard’s 2017 Cheverny, a blend of 85 percent Sauvignon and 15 percent Chardonnay. It has the crisp acidity and floral notes of the Sauvignon and a roundness provided by the Chardonnay. With its underlying minerality, the combination is irresistible.

The Loire Valley offers countless good bottles for under $20, but this one, at about $15, has to be one of the top values. The Delaille family, which owns the domaine, works about 100 acres of vineyards using sustainable farming practices. It has been making wine for 120 years.

The 2017 vintage was an excellent one in the Loire, and Domaine du Salvard’s Cheverny is a reflection of that. Beyond the floral and mineral notes, the wine evokes pear and mild citrus, with some cream and even a hint of coconut on the long finish. It’s fresh yet elegant, lovely on its own, and a perfect pairing for fish and white meats.

One thing to keep in mind: There is another appellation, the much smaller Cour-Cheverny just north of Cheverny, which produces unique and memorable white wines from the obscure Romorantin grape. Together, they represent a fascinating corner of the Loire that is not to be missed.

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