I promised more whites and more Loire wines, so tonight's post deals with both. In the New World, the Loire Valley wines are more of a curiousity. Surprising, as the Loire is France's third largest producer of wine and its leading producer of white wines. (It is also France's leading producer of AOC sparkling wines - who knew?) But here is the key statistic - only 20% of production is exported, with 40% shipped to the U.K. and 20% sent to Belgium (mussels?). This leaves only 8% of Loire wine ever having a chance to make it to North America. Once you slice the numbers some more, I am pretty sure it is all ending up in Brooklynguy's cellar.
Oh, the sommeliers know them, but it seems to me that consumers over here have not yet taken to them. Perhaps this is due to the complexity - its 63 Appelations (AOCs) produce reds, whites, roses and sparklers from a wide variety of grapes - Chenin Blanc (Pineau de la Loire), Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay (Auvernat), Gamay, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir and a number of other varieties.
When faced with such a dizzying array of combinations, I have tried to focus on knowing a few appelations (Loire for Dummies):
Vouvray (Chenin Blanc)
red Chinon (Cabernet Franc)
white Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc)
Pouilly Fume (Sauvignon Blanc)
Muscadet Sèvre et Maine (Muscadet)
With that info and the names of a few good winemarkers, you are all set to dive into Loire wines.
Tonight's Loire white 2004 Marc Brédif Vouvray. It is obviously not a difficult wine to find, as I see some of my fellow bloggers have posted on this one as well. I haven't had a Vouvray in a little while, and it seemed the perfect pairing for tonights' shrimp linguine in a simple, lemon-based sauce. Pale gold in hue with a lovely minerally nose, it showed scents of apricot, banana and fresh cut grass. It was slightly off dry and minerally, almost chalky, on the palate. Medium bodied with flavours of banana, it was very elegant with nice balance and great acidity. Drink now - an excellent summer white and a great pairing with the shrimp.
Price: C$20 (SAQ)