I tasted a bottle of the 2005 Clos des Blanchais Menetou-Salon from Domaine Henry Pellé, and I loved it.
It’s pale lemon with a white rim; clean medium+ intense developing aromas of white grapefruit, mineral and white peach. It’s dry with medium+ acid, medium alcohol (a refreshing 12.5 percent) and a lovely creamy body with the white grapefruit, peach and minerals again. It’s not super long, but coats the tongue.
Menetou-Salon is a region in the eastern Loire Valley just southwest of its more famous neighbors of Sancerre and Pouilly Fumé. It became an appellation in 1959. The wines are not as characterful — to use a Jancis word — but are usually good values, and can have more finesse than the bruising Sancerres.
Menetou-Salon is just west of, and very much smaller than, the much more famous Sancerre, near the city of Bourges, producing a not dissimilar range of red, white, and rosé wines which can often offer better value. Sauvignon Blanc grown here is capable of making wines every bit as refreshingly aromatic as Sancerre. Soils in the appellation are mainly limestone and can be very similar to those in the more famous zone to the east, although Menetou’s vineyards are flatter and less compact, resulting in a less favourable mesoclimate. The best zone is around the village of Morogues, a name used on the labels of producers such as Henry Pellé. The village of Parassy also has a high concentration of vineyards. Sauvignon represents about 60 per cent of the appellation’s total production, while Pinot Noir grapes are responsible for scented, light reds and pinks for early consumption, this lightness owing much to a permitted yield of 68 hl/ha for Pinot — yet more evidence of the similarity between Sancerre and Menetou-Salon.
This wine in particular is 100 percent old-vines sauvignon blanc grown in clay and limestone soil facing the southwest.