When is a sparkling wine from the Loire not a Crémant?
This is not a Crémant as one might expect of sparkling wines from the Loire Valley. This is a natural sparkling wine made by Domain de Veilloux winemaker Arnaud Quenioux in the AOC of Cheverny and near the village of Chitenay. A Crémant is usually a blend of two or more grapes, and the grapes used in the production have strict requirements. This sparkling wine in the photo is made in a very
unique manner and the outcome is a fantastic lively and crisp sparkling wine like no other. The label reads in French, “Et Vie Danse” and literally means “life and dance.” The bubbles dance and give one life’s pleasure. I am not sure, but I believe this is the only Loire Valley natural sparkling wine produced like this.
The wine is made from a single variety of grape known as Menu Pineau. Have you heard of it? Probably not, and most of the existing vineyards are owned by Domain de Veilloux. They also use the Menu Pineau in one of their delicious white wines, a blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Menu Pineau. Arnaud ferments the Menu Pineau in old oak barrels. Before fermentation is complete, he “locks” the fermentation period by bringing the temperature down. At this point he bottles the wine and in the Spring when the temperatures rise, fermentation begins again and completes in the bottle. He then disgorges and corks the wine. Only 1000 bottles are made of this unusual sparkling wine. Not only is it very good, it is also priced at 12 Euros a bottle. This is fantastic wine value!
All the vineyards in Domaine de Veilloux are biodynamic and organically certified. A white, a Rosé and a red are made at three quality levels. Domaine de Veilloux also makes a wonderful Crémant. The owner of the house we were renting (La Menagerie) had a bottle of this Crémant waiting for us upon our arrival. It is an equal blend of Menu Pineau and Chardonnay. This winery was nearby, perhaps 3 kilometers away. It was a great visit on our last day in the Loire before heading to Paris.
How this natural sparkling wine is made – Arnaud Quenioux