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 In my French wine travels, I have visited many family owned operations as well as quite a few cooperative wineries. The French wine industry includes 619 cooperatives with 85,000 grower members that employ almost 18,000 people. Cooperative wine production represents 51% of all French wine made.  These alliances of small growers pool the fruits of their labor with a central winemaking facility, thus enabling them to operate on a larger scale with better equipment.

The coops range in size from less than 20 members to upwards of 300 in some cases. The number of members in an organization can have a direct effect as to the quality level, with large cooperatives usually making more bulk wines and smaller units making more focused wines of distinction. That is a generalization of course, so let it be said that I have come across some very good coop ventures and some that I would forgo doing business with.

One of the best run and finest producers we have worked with is the Caves de Vignerons de Saumur, from the heart of the Loire Valley. Although a large organization in terms of members, the wines are affordable, typical of the region and very delicious.  The specialties of the appellations they farm are Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc and the regionally specific Pineau d’Aunis (also known as Chenin Noir) from which they make a tart rosé that exhibits flavors of rhubarb and cranberry. The winery is cut right into the white, chalky soils of the area (called Tuffeau) and features miles of underground storage caves, some of which are used in the commercial growing of mushrooms. The Germans put these caves to use in WWII, much as they did in Champagne and the Alsace. All of the Caves de Vignerons de Saumur wines are clean, refreshing and wonderful with food and friends.

Come in and try them this Saturday from 1PM to 4PM and see for yourself.

Cheers,

-Bill the Wine Guy

 


 

Coteaux de Vendomois Blanc Cocagne
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A crisp Chenin Blanc that’s perfect for summer picnics, featuring flavors of pear, white peach and a tiny amount of residual sugar. Try it with pasta salads, rotisserie chicken and sautéed walleye.
Regular Price $12.99
Sale Price $10.39 | Rewards $9.96 750ml
Prices good thru July 7th, 2016

 


 

Le Grand Vincent Touraine Sauvignon Blanc
25428_hr This pale, yellow wine streaked with green is dry and refreshing, with straightforward but typical aromas of citrus and green apple. The mouth is full and develops into fleshiness with the characteristic fruitiness of Côteaux wines.
Regular Price $12.99
Sale Price $10.39 | Rewards $9.96 750ml
Prices good thru July 7th, 2016

 


 

Saumur Blanc Les Pouches
Saumur Blanc Les Pouches
The wine is pale gold with touches of silver. It has an agreeable nose of ripe fruit, William pear and white peach, with a touch of honey-sweet acacia-lime flowers and a hint of flintiness. It Pairs great with fish with cream sauce, roast duck with peaches, Asian food, fresh goat’s cheese; also ideal as an aperitif wine.
Regular Price $12.99
Sale Price $10.39 | Rewards $9.96 750ml
Prices good thru July 7th, 2016

 


 

Saumur Bourguiel Beaurenard Cabernet Franc
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Charming now, over time this will open up to become even more expressive, with a complex bouquet, featuring fresh fruit aromas of blackberry and also offer hints of violet, bitter chocolate and coffee. It starts out full-bodied and soft on the palate, following through with jammy red-berry fruit.
Regular Price $12.99
Sale Price $10.39 | Rewards $9.96 750ml
Prices good thru July 7th, 2016

*All tasting notes from Laurent Terrisson, exporter of fine French wines!

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