Sunday, May 18, 2014

#SpringtoLoire LOIRE Valley Wines Tasting-NYC 2014

Loire Valley-France's longest river-and the valley surrounding it-on UNESCO's World Heritage List  (2000) ---stretches from east to west in the center of the country- Pays Nantais on the Atlantic coast of Britanny (Muscadet), Anjou-(with many wonderful Cabernet Franc and dry Chenin Blanc from AOC Savennières +sweet wines of Anjou), Touraine (with now very popular in the USA- AOC Vouvray wines), Saumur (sparkling wines) Centre-Loire (with two well known AOC Pouilly-Fumé+Sancerre),

There were Loire Valley, France wines from wine importers, large and small---on tables placed around a covered, welcoming outdoor terrace at the McKittrick Hotel…open and light even on a cloudy day. (And a refreshing contrast from the claustrophobic where's the fire exit inducing freight elevator ride up to get there.)

The wines-impressively were (are) accessibly priced for an average consumer-whether ordering by the glass,  buying a bottle or stocking up for a party. And---some of the wines are worthy of collecting- drinking for a few years hence---with satisfying compositions and finishes to please sophisticated palettes.

The Loire Valley is diverse-with vines growing in "terroirs" of different types of limestone, silex, flint, gravel, sand mixed with shells, clay, silica, granite, gneiss etc…yielding crisp dry-or rich and aromatic whites, subtle sparkling wines, several  just right sweet wines, dry or off dry rosés, and fresh fruity or earthy rich reds.

WHAT: Drink ready wines (nice)…in addition to the light-medium bodied whites which we always associate with the Loire Valley- new to us tastes included polished sparkling wines,  a few Rosés (dry)…and full bodied Cabernet Franc.

Domaine du Viking- Vouvray-Dry White. 100% Chenin Blanc AOC Vouvray  $23 and pouring Domaine du Viking, NV Sparkling 100% Chenin Blanc $22…both delicious
European Cellars

Promex Wines

Domaine Cédrick Bardin- Dry White 100%Sauvignon Blanc AOC Pouilly-Fumé-great value- $12.50

Lexington Selections

Domaine Bizet 2012 tasted- Sancerre $26.95 ---made from 3 different soil types

5th generation-Domaine Bizet

Roadhouse Merchants-Valentin Fleur, 2013 $15.99 Dry White, 100% Sauvignon Blanc AOC Touraine-great value here-we had a nice chat too-about buying wine from small select wine shop vs. big box entities-and happy mediums like the Stew Leonard wine shops---because in NYS-cannot buy wine in grocery stores which we think, really makes wine less accessible to the general public-and probably adds to the prices. Annoying. Other views-a great wine shop is like a bookstore---a place to learn-knowledgeably curated experience. 

Ackerman-Remy Pannier…white, rosé and red wines from vineyards- along the Loire River

Remy Pannier Vouvray-100% Chenin Blanc-nice green apple-honey undertones, round, hints of spice, lime , almond-delicate-sweet. Bottles are embossed with the coat of arms.

Remy Pannier Vouvray-lovely pale color---with charm sold with Rosé, pictured below
Remy Pannier- Rosé d'Anjou, Sauvignon Blanc

Chateau de L'Oiseliniere-Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, Pouilly-Fumé Vincent Vatan

David Milligan Selections-ranging from really really good to holy cow fabulous from 10th generation owned/operated Domaine Fournier and far right Château La Berrière, 2012 Muscadet Sèvre-et Maine Dry White, 100% Melon d Bourgogne $13
David Milligan-holding the 'top of the cream' metaphorically speaking-exceptional-91 points Wine Spectator

Domaine Fournier Grande Cuvée-Dry White 100% Sauvignon Blanc $30-"special process of chilling the must Grape pulp) before fermentation and allowing it to rest of the fine lees for 12 hours"
Classic wine with oysters-yummy. Domaine Fournier, Cuvée Silex 2012-Dry White 100% Sauvignon Blanc-made from 40 ears old vines---lovely bouquet, delicious-Wine Enthusiast 90 points$40-limited supply

Château de Passavant 2011 Dry White 100% Chenin Blanc-AOC Anjou $19

The Wine List

Advantage International

Blue Coast International-Domaine de la Garenne, Reverdy-Gordon right Dry White 100% Sauvignon Blanc $22 AOC Sancerre-Pierre Marchand&Fils "Les Loges" Dry White 100% Sauvignon Blanc 2012-fruity-2013 more acid -AOC Pouilly-Fumé $20

Bonhomie Wine Imports

loved the label too-Emile Balland "Les Beaux Jours" Dry White, 100% Sauvignon Blanc AOC Côteaux du Giennois $13.33 form just north of Sancerre

Bradley Alan Imports

Domaine de Cézin AOC Côteaux du Loir-Dry White,100% Chenin Blanc $17 (middle)-on the right-Domaine de Cézin 2013 AOC Jasnières, Dry White 100% Chenin Blanc $21-long, dry finish-rich, mineral taste 

Robert Kacher Selection-Domaines des Haut de Sanziers 2011-Tesssier family owned for 2 centuries. AOC Saumur Dry White, 100% Chenin Blanc

Terlato Wines

Sparkling wines from the Loire Valley were a revelation for us-including the two we tasted here-Langlois-Chateau NV Sparkling white-60% Chenin Blanc, 20% Chardonnay, 20% Cabernet Franc AOC Crémant de Loire $30
...and Brut Rosé-100% Cabernet Franc $35 AOC Crémant de Loire-on the far right. The Sancerre-Langlois-Château, 2012 Dry White-Sauvignon Blanc $20-established winery since 1895, far left-Langlois-Château, Château de Fontaine-Audon, 2011 Dy White, 100% Sauvignon Blanc $30-with a hint of fruit-not just mineral tastes-delicious

Domaine de La Perrière, 2013 AOC Sancerre, Dry White, 100% Sauvignon Blanc $24.99 "yummy" -our notes read very simply-9th generation owned vineyard…Pasternak Wine Imports

Jerome Selections- -with Joseph Mellot wines (since 1513!!!)-employee Corentin Chon wanted his boss to know he was working -not slacking off in the city that never sleeps.
Joseph Mellot "Le Montarlet" 2013 Dry White, 100% Sauvignon Blanc $14-AOC Sancerre-

we did not taste this Rosé (from Sancerre!) ----

KYSELA PÈRE et Fil--offered several under $14 affordable wines-barely cost more than a six pack of beer…and --also...

a VERY tasty Gaudrelle, NV  Alexandre Monmousseau, Cremant de Loire Brut -Sparkling wine 50% Chenin Blanc, 50% Chardonnay AOC Vouvray $25.99

Gaudrelle, NV  Alexandre Monmousseau, Cremant de Loire Brut

Roche de Lune AOC Touraine 2013-dry white Chenin Blanc wine-made by husband/wife team  $13.99
nice pale color-Encore Wine Importers-also served from daughter run (Lulu) Domaine Jacky Marteau  2012 Dry White 100% Sauvignon Blanc, AOC Touraine $9.33  Lulu-name of vineyard's daughter now runs it.

curiously empty---yet very inviting---perfect spot for a nap

Daniel Johnnes Wines-owner multi-tasks  as sommelier-Daniel Boulud Group

Domaine Fl "Roche aux Moines" 2008 AOC Saviennières Roches aux Moines,  Dry White, 100% Chenin Blanc $33-terrific balance of acidity and full round mature wine, fruit and mineral. Pale yellow color-great finish.  

Cognac One-Domaine Chatelain-"Les Charmes" 2011 Dry White, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, AOC Pouilly-Fumé $22 Winery in same family since 1630. Aged steel and oak which imparts light wood tannins.

we didn't taste many reds-but we did try this…Domaine du Raifault, Chinon Cuvé Tradition  2012 AOC Chinon 100% Cabernet Franc- deep plum color, raspberry+cassis aroma, sweet refreshing +soft tannins-easy to pair with a lot of foods,

Cape Classic
bottles of this wine went quickly...

this was a favorite of ours…Domaine Vincent Carème "Le Peu Morier" 2011-certified organic wine from a small vineyard…Dry White 100% Chenin Blanc AOC Vouvray $39.99. Matured in oak barrels. Citrus/fruit notes and mineral overtones. Crisp+delish.

Quintessence 2012-holding Red 100% Cabernet Franc AOC Chinon…$18

Bronco Wine Company

we tried the Quintessence, 2012 Pouilly-Fumé, Dry White 100% Sauvignon Blanc $18 from a vineyard dates back to the 5th century! Fragrant and refreshing-Wine+Spirits Magazine gave it 89 points "Best Buy"

Vinotas Selections

Another guy in this profession that loves his job--- Biodynamic Pascal Pibaleau "La Perlette", NV Sparkling die 100% Grolleau (planted in 1945!), AOC Touraine-zay-le Rideau, $17.99 great value approachable bubbly--- 

Jean-Maurice Raffault, 2013 Rosé-100% Cabernet Franc AOC Chinon $16.50-14th generation owned vineyard

VOS Selections-Domaine du Tremblay, 2013 Dry White, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, AOC Quincy $19.75-by Pierre Chanier-elegant, minerals with a delicate "smoky" tint that we loved. Nice surprise to aromatic wine.

Wineberry had many wines to taste-but we gravitated towards the tongue in cheek named Zero Pointé selections

around $18

The closet 'vins' to a wine cooler we have ever tasted…the Château Tour Grise Ze Bulle "Zéro Pointé, 2011= low alcohol (8.5%), easy to sip like soda wine…with a name that stands for an "F" in the strict  French academic grading system. We guess some standards were not met here, hence the name-but IMO-there is a place for non complicated sparkling wines like this-especially in the summer-on the beach, a backyard BBQ…reminded us of how people drink Sangria.

also a Château Tour Grise "L'Affranchi" 2005 Red 100% Cabernet Franc AOC Saumur
It would be a French wine tasting without…

With the slightly chilled whites…fairly idiot proof food pairings will work-oysters, grilled fish, sushi-Asian foods that are not too heavy, white meats, poultry, mild cheeses (especially goat cheese), ham…or chilled as an aperitif.