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Loire producers move to screwcap

Published:  23 July, 2008

Screwcapped wines were strongly in evidence at this year's Salon de Vins de Loire. Hitherto, screwcaps have made little impression in the Loire, being used only by the large companies at the cheaper end of their ranges.

The launch by Florent Baumard of Domaine des Baumard of his Clos du Papillon Savennires 2003 and Quarts de Chaume 2004 in Stelvin+, the new high-quality screwcap, may prove to be one of the most significant events of this Salon. From next year, Baumard will bottle his entire production under screwcap. It would be surprising if others do not follow the example of one of the valley's top quality producers.

Domaine Levin was among those at the 2006 edition showing wines for the first time. This venture belongs to David Levin of the Capital Group.

It concentrates on making screwcapped Sauvignon Blanc in a New World-style winery close to Montrichard in Eastern Touraine. Thierry Merlet, who has worked at Petaluma and

in Oregon, is the winemaker with Steve Daniels, formerly

of Oddbins, as consultant and importer through Novum Wines Ltd.

The days when this annual fair - which was launched in 1987 and covers the whole of the Loire, France's third-largest wine-producing region - regularly attracted leading UK wine journalists are long gone. No journalist with a national column has attended for at least three years. Doubtless, the proximity of ViniSud ensured that even fewer writers than normal made it this year.