If you drink red wine, you’ve probably had at least one French red at some point. Chances are, you’ve had several, or even many. But have you had a red from the Loire? For most, I think the answer would be no.
I’m not frightened to admit this was only my second ever Loire red. And I have to thank the World Atlas of Wine 7th Edition, which points out how far these wines slip under our radar in the UK, for prompting me to try it. The authors suggest that we’re missing out by largely ignoring the reds of the Loire, and if Les Nivières is anything to go by, they’re dead right.
Before you approach this wine you should forget about every red wine you’ve tasted that came from other parts of France or other countries. This stuff is different. Very different.
Expect a pronounced, herbaceous blackcurrant flavour, a light-ish body and a bracing, refreshing acidity. There’s no oak or any other kind of interference, just good quality, vibrant, youthful wine. I decided to do as the locals apparently do, and drink it ‘slightly chilled’, or to be a little more scientific, at around 11 degrees centigrade. And that works, very well. So well that I couldn’t bring myself to even try it at ‘room temperature’.
Sadly, there’s no Waitrose within sensible shopping trip distance of my house. So I thought I’d have a look around at the other supermarkets and local wine merchants to see if any of them stock anything similar to Les Nivères. Nope. This style just isn’t on the radar, and I’m thinking that’s a crying shame.
Hats off to Waitrose then for being brave enough to stock it. Long may they continue to do so. They can certainly expect to see me popping in for a bottle or two when I happen to be near one of their branches.