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Centre-Loire: Reuilly

Centre-Loire: Reuilly

Reuilly may be best known for its dry and crisp Sauvignon Blancs, but it also stands out in the Centre-Loire’s constellation of appellations for its way with Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. From these three grapes, white, red, and rosé wines tell the story of Reuilly’s distinct terroir.

The existence of vineyards can be traced back to the 7th century. Vines were gifted to the Abbey of St. Denis from the King of the Franks, Dagobert I. Under the care of the monastery, the plantings flourished and the ensuing wines earned acclaim. The nearby Cher River, a tributary of the Loire River, served as a transportation hub, much to the benefit of neighboring villages. Reuilly may also be some of the earliest wines transported internationally; via the Loire River, wines made their way to England and Flanders (modern-day Belgium). In 1937, it was designated an AOC for the white wines, and red and rosé wines received the same recognition in 1961. Today, 54 producers tend to 712 acres of vineyards in the appellation.

As in Quincy, soils primarily consist of sand and gravel, with calcareous marl on the hillsides. And like nearby Quincy, Reuilly boasts one of the driest climates in all of Centre-Loire. The lack of rainfall causes vines to dig deep to find nutrients, resulting in wines with concentration and complexity. Cool temperatures throughout the growing season ensure a long, slow ripening time, which allows the bright acidity to develop.

Centre-Loire Reuilly
Photo Pierre Mérat

Pinot Gris is usually the first to fully ripen. Its pigmented skins —gris refers to the color, sometimes pink-to-purple or even blue-tinged grey—give the resulting rosés their eye-catching hue during pre-fermentation pressing and maceration. Highly aromatic and dry, this pale and delicate rosé makes a lovely aperitif wine as well as a perfect match for a range of cuisines.

Pinot Noir is often the next to be harvested. In Reuilly, the style leans fresh and fruit-forward, with luscious berry aromas and flavors adding layers of depth.

The picking of Sauvignon Blanc completes the harvest season. Like elsewhere in Centre-Loire, the white wines exhibit that signature electricity and energy. In Reuilly specifically, floral notes commingle with the fruit flavors and aromas, and the texture is round and ripe.

After a brief slowdown in winemaking in the mid-20th century, a  renaissance took place in the 1980s as a new appreciation for Reuilly’s terroir set in. Today, many of these revivalist winemakers, along with the next generation, continue to elevate Reuilly and its wines.

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