Every time I join our group focusing on the different wine regions throughout I ask myself why I do not drink more French wine. I have an palate and every time I decide to jump in and try something I add some new favorites to my . This month we feature the Loire Valley hosted by Camilla of the Culinary Adventures of Camilla. With spring upon us, the wines I’m sharing today couldn’t have been a better fit to welcome the season. Let’s dig into the Loire Valley!
The Loire Valley wine region is located in Central France and runs along the Loire River. The wine region is divided into 3 parts, two of which I’ll be sharing wines from today including the Upper Valley and the Central Valley. The region is rich with beautiful landscapes with chateaus and castles spread throughout and covers over 600 miles from east to west.
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Saumur is an area that is known for caves that reside in the chalky hillsides. These caves help moderate consistent temperatures. There are actually hundreds of miles of underground caves dug out with the materials used to build castles and palaces found throughout the region. Bouvet actually has underground cellars that were excavated by St. Florence monks that used the material to build abbey. These underground caves about 5 miles long, in 2002, became recognized as a UNESCO Heritage Site known as the Underground Cathedral.
The Bouvet Signature Brut non-vintage I tried is made from 90% Chenin Blanc and 10% Chardonnay. The grapes are sourced from over 100+ plots of land that the Bouvet family has long established relationships with. These grapes grow on soils mostly comprised of limestone, which is fantastic for growing Chenin Blanc grapes, along with some clay that allow great drainage. The juice is pressed in the vineyard and brought to the winery and the lots are blended before secondary fermentation via the traditional method. Straw to yellow colored in the glass, this wine had a beautiful nose of citrus, green apple, stone fruit and a slight hint of vanilla. The bubbles were fine and the wine was quite airy with lemon zest and a tingly acidity carried through to the finish. I located this wine online at Total Wine for $11.99. Quite a steal! ABV 12.5%
I’d love to say I prepared this gourmet French meal, but let’s keep in mind I have 2 small children and I may have been the only one eating it if I did. With the leftover ham we had from the prior night’s meal, I paired the Bouvet Signature Brut with a tortellini, ham and pea dish that went together quite well! The sauce had a slight creaminess to it that seemed to blend well with the bubbles.
The second one I sampled, a 2019 Michel Redde La Pouilly Fume, hails from the Upper Loire Valley where the winery is located in the north side of the town of Pouilly-sur-Loire. This particular wine appellation is known for its Sauvignon Blanc.
Michel Redde and his son, Thierry, operate the winery today along with Thierry’s sons. Winemaking has been in the origins of the Redde family since 1630. Michel from an early age always wanted to be in the wine industry and with his wife in 1950 started purchasing and clearing land and planting vineyards. Starting with 15 acres and growing to the present 85 acres, the vineyards are located on hillsides overlooking the Loire Valley. About 97% of their vineyards are planted to Sauvignon Blanc. They are slow progressing towards converting over to organic winemaking as well.
The 2019 Michel Redde La Pouilly Fume was my favorite of the two. Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc this wine is produced from vines in diverse soils from limestone to marl and clay with flint. Unlike Bouvet, these grapes are estate grown. The wine was aged on the lees about 10-12 months in stainless and wooden barrels until bottled. A brilliant pale straw color in the glass. The wine was quite aromatic showing mostly apricots and grassy notes. Bright, lively acidity right up front with great body and texture. Mostly herbal and grassy notes along with some citrus and a hint of apricot towards the finish. Lots of minerality showing on this wine and I picked up a hint of warmth on the finish from the 14.2% alcohol, but not considerably noticeable. Great length! SRP $36.
I went with a simple pairing for this one and wish I had added more of a sauce to the top that may have really married well to the dish. I prepared quinoa topped with baked salmon drizzled with some sesame oil. Still enjoyable, but I think a sauce would’ve turned this pairing up a notch.
Don’t stop now! The rest of our wine and food loving crew have great wine and food pairing suggestions on the Loire Valley to share. Join us live on Twitter this Saturday at 11am EST at #Winophiles as we chat more about the Loire Valley. See you there!
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