Wine shop quest: Chenin Blanc

Sometimes finding exactly what you want at the wine shop can be a challenge. So it was for me when I went looking for a Loire Valley Chenin Blanc the other day.

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I needed a Chenin Blanc so I could taste and take notes on the topic for our Wine Focus topic in the WineLovers Discussion Group this month. I wanted one from the Loire because, well, I really like the way Chenin Blanc is made there.

To my disappointment, this quest wasn’t as easy as I expected. I struck out completely at the first wine shop I checked: Not a single Chenin Blanc, from the Loire or anywhere else in France, in its otherwise estimable collection. I moved on to a second shop and, yippee. I found a single Loire Chenin.

The label wasn’t familiar, and neither was the importer, someone called Mary Taylor at the unfamiliar and barely pronounceable Nashawtuc LLC in Sandy Hook, Connecticut. The label was simple, plain, discreet black and white, containing just the basics: Anjou Blanc, appellation Anjou, made by Pascal Biotteau at Saint-Jean-Des-Mauvrets, France. And across the bottom, a neat signature with just a touch of flair in the capital letters: Mary Taylor.

Anjou's rolling hills are covered with Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc vines.

Anjou’s rolling hills are covered with Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc vines.

This wasn’t much to go on, but the $16 price was reasonable, and more important, it was the only Loire Chenin I’d been able to find in two stops. I bought it, took it home, and started searching the internet for “Mary Taylor Anjou Chenin Blanc.”

Whoa! It took me about 10 seconds to find a glowing review of Mary Taylor Wine in New York Times wine writer Eric Asimov’s column, The Pour.

“How to Sell Good, Inexpensive Wines Without Pandering,” headlined Asimov’s October 7, 2021 article. “Mary Taylor is betting that curious consumers will want well-made bottles, labeled with just the facts.”

It’s a long article, and I commend it to your attention. You can read the full column at this gift link, which will bypass the Times’ paywall and open it for you without charge.

To summarize briefly, Asimov points out that entry to wine can be discouraging for people on tight budgets who want to learn more about wine. “Plenty of cheap wine is out there,” he writes, “but much of it is not very good.” Inexpensive, attractively labeled supermarket wines are typically forgettable, while you may need a guide to choose among the realm of modest, traditional affordable wines (like the ones I choose for review in every issue).

To resolve this, says Asimov, Mary Taylor “has come up with a packaging approach for European appellation wines that is clear, consistent and unembellished, displaying the provenance and the producer on clean, white labels, with an easy-to-read-font.”

Her wines are priced in the teens, and are available in 38 states, Canada, Britain and Sweden (and, for those elsewhere, via merchants listed on

My purchase, Mary Taylor’s Pascal Biotteau 2020 Anjou Blanc, was a good buy. Its honey-apricot aromas and flavors, subtle minerality, and fresh, barely sweet and freshly acidic medium-bodied flavor offer an excellent introduction to Loire Chenin Blanc.


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Today’s Tasting Report

Pascal Biotteau 2020 Anjou Blanc ($16.99)

Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc

Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc is a delicious Loire white wine made with 100% Chenin Blanc. It’s a clear, light gold color with a flash of brassy green, and it breathes appealing scents of honey that lead into fresh, juicy apricot. Honey and apricot carry over on the palate with a rich, medium-bodied flavor with just a touch of fresh-fruit sweetness that’s nicely balanced with zippy acidity and a distant note of stone fruit-pit bitterness. It’s an interesting and complex wine, a pure, un-oaked introduction to Loire Chenin Blanc. 14% alcohol. U.S. importer: Nashawtuc LLC, Sandy Hook, Connecticut, A Mary Taylor Selection. (July 16, 2022)

FOOD MATCH: suggests pairing this wine with chicken and turkey. We enjoyed it with a summer meal of stuffed green peppers from the garden.

WHEN TO DRINK: This fresh and enjoyable wine is good for immediate consumption. But Chenin Blanc, like Riesling, can age surprisingly well under good celler conditions. It might be interesting to set aside a few bottles for five years or so and see if they gain complexity.

My local price matches’s $17 average U.S. retail, and it’s a good buy at that price. Some vendors offer it for a few dollars less.

Here’s an info page about Biotteau Anjou Blanc from importer Mary Taylor. Use this link to read more about Mary Taylor Wine.

Check prices and find vendors for Pascal Biotteau Anjou Blanc on

Learn more about the Anjou wine region in the Loire at this Wine-Searcher link.

This Wine-Searcher link provides information about the Chenin Blanc grape, with links to dozens of wines made with this variety.

Wine Focus July 2022: Chenin Blanc and Shiraz

A great French white and an iconic Australian red: Join us this month in Wine Focus as we celebrate Chenin Blanc, the grape of Vouvray and Montlouis, and Shiraz, Australia’s iconic take on Syrah.

Bring your questions and comments and bring your notes on either wine, and join the conversation in Chenin Blanc and Shiraz month, July 2022!


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Good wines we’ve tried under $10.99!

Want tips to still more good, inexpensive wines? Here are Wine-Searcher links to vendors and prices for a bunch more wines for $10.99 or less that I’ve told you about in recent years. In some cases the prices may have risen over the $10.99 mark since I reviewed them, but they should still be excellent bargains. Please tell us about your favorites!


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