Saint Pourçain Wine
Saint-Pourçain is an ancient and underrated area of viticulture in the land-locked centre of France that is far better known for growing cereals and, ironically, furnishing the 'Allier' oak that is used to make barrels for maturing the fine wines of Bordeaux and Burgundy. In terms of wine classification, it is attributed to the Loire as it lies on the Sioule tributary of the Cher – a rather tenuous link as it is as geographically closer to Burgundy or the Rhône. No matter. It is home to the consistently dependable 'Union des Vignerons' co-operative who have been supplying us with their well-crafted, forward-drinking and good value wines for over 40 years.
Their white 'Cuvée Printanière' is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Trésallier and is a versatile 'all-rounder' being light enough to serve on its own but with enough weight to partner salads and seafood. It has delicate wild flower and citrus aromas and a bright orchard fruit palate underscored by fresh acidity. Their 'La Chinière' rosé, made from pure Gamay, has a lovely 'wild salmon' robe and crushed summer berry scents and flavours preceding a zesty finish. Completing a commendable triumvirate is the popular red 'La Ficelle', named after the knotted cord used to measure customers' consumption of this self-proclaimed vin de soif in days of yore. Each year a different cartoonist is awarded the honour of designing the bottle's livery and early examples are now collector's items. Made from a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir it has a wealth of ripe hedgerow fruits supported by the gentlest of tannins. It is best served lightly chilled and is ideal for al fresco imbibing.