Saint-Pourçain is a bit of a vinous anomaly as it lies in the land-locked centre of France in the Auvergne, as geographically close to Burgundy or the Rhône as it is to the Loire. It is annexed to Loire for classification because it lies on the Sioule tributary of the river Allier which in turn joins the Loire 76 kilometres further north below Nevers. Perhaps unsurprisingly it deploys an idiosyncratic palette of grapes but it nevertheless remains a dependable outpost for reasonably-priced, well-made wines that make gratifying everyday drinking.
The Union des Vignerons co-operative is a terrific one-stop shop for the local red, white and rosé that have graced these pages for many years. The white 'Cuvée Printanière' is made from a blend of Chardonnay and Trésallier that is spring-bottled to conserve its youthful fruit. It has fresh, floral aromas and a crisp, zesty, citrus-edged palate making it a versatile aperitif or partner to seafood. Its sibling rosé 'La Chinière' is equally meritorious. It is made from pure Gamay and has an appealing salmon pink robe, bright crushed berry scents and flavours and an elegant, dry finish. Completing the triumverate is a red called 'La Ficelle' after a knotted string, which was the historic means of gauging consumption, and is a self-proclaimed 'Vin de Soif'. It is made from a blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir and comes in a bottle illuminated by a different cartoonist each year. This exuberant, youthful offering has lots of juicy red summer fruit offset by a fresh acidity and supple tannins. It is best served lightly chilled and lends itself well to picnics and parties.