SOPEXA kindly sent me a hamper with picnic foods and a wine from each of six regions in the Loire. The object of the exercise was to show how versatile these wines are with a variety of dishes.
So my wife Deborah and I had a virtual picnic in the Loire Valley while we conjured up memories of the impressive châteaux along the river banks.
First course: Smoked sardines in olive oil and herbs, with Parlez Vous Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (IGT). A brilliant match – the lively acidity cut through the oil and fishy flavour.
Second course: Pork rillette with Barton & Guestier Les Petites Parcelles Vouvray 2019 (Chenin Blanc). The hint of honeyed sweetness worked well with the pork. A great match.
Third course: East coast lobster roll with brioche bun, with Thierry Delaunay Sauvignon Blanc 2020 (Touraine) and Jean-Max Roger Sancerre Cuvée “Genèse” 2019. The crisp acidity in both wines cleansed the palate.
Fourth course: Selection of cheeses (Paillot de Chèvre, Grand Crème and Petit Cantel) with Château de la Grange Muscadet Côtes de Grand Lieu sur lie 2018 and Corty Artisan Pouilly-Fumé 2017. Sensational pairings. Sauvignon Blanc with chèvre is a marriage made in heaven!
Fifth course: Lemon Bichon (a French pastry similar to a turnover made of puff pastry), with Thierry Delaunay Sauvignon Blanc 2020. The mix of sweet and tart of the dessert was perfectly matched with the wine.
There is no question as to how adaptable the white wines of the Loire Valley are with a variety of dishes. A most enjoyable experience.
Other wines tasted:
Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay 2028 (Sonoma County, $49.95, Vintages #20391)
Pale straw colour; cedary, toasty apple nose with a floral note; medium-bodied, dry and crisp, peach and lemon flavours; great length. (92)
Sokol Blosser Dundee Hills Estate Chardonnay 2018 (Willamette Valley, Oregon, $28.95, Vintages #16988)
Bright, pale straw in colour; toasty. Nutty, spicy, apple nose; medium-bodied, dry, lemony, green apple flavour with lively acidity and a long fresh finish. (92)
Kew Soldier’s Grant 2018 (Niagara Peninsula, $19.95, Vintages #367318)
Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc blend. Deep ruby colour; cedary, cherry nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, floral, cherry flavours, finishing on a herbal note. (90)
Township 7 Provenance Series Rosé 2020 (Okanagan)
Pale pink in colour; minerally, strawberry bouquet; medium-bodied, dry, wild strawberry flavour; well-balanced with a long finish. A top-flight rosé. (90)
Lapis Luna Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Lodi, California, LCBO general list #17809, $19.95. To be released July 24th)
Deep purple in colour; cedary, licorice, blackberry nose with a floral note; medium-bodied, dry, plum and blackcurrant flavours with a firm, spicy finish. (89)
Louis Jadot Bourgogne Chardonnay 2019 (Burgundy, $24.95, Vintages #933077)
Pale gold in colour; lightly toasty. Apple and lemon peel nose with oak spice; medium-bodied, dry, crisp, green apple and lemon flavours, finishing on lively acidity that gives the wine great length. (90) BB
Kellerei Bozen Chardonnay 2010 (Südtirol-Alto Adige, $20.95, Vintages #570457)
Light gold in colour; toasty, woody nose of winter apples; medium-bodied, dry, lemony-apple flavour with a touch of bitterness on the finish. (89) B
Domaine Queylus Tradition Chardonnay 2018 (Niagara Peninsula, $29.95, Vintages #417774)
Bright, pale straw in colour; creamy, apple nose with a toasty oak note; medium-bodied, dry, apple and lemon flavours with oak spice, carried on lively acidity. (90) B
Izadi Larrosa Rosé 2020 (Rioja, $16.95, Vintages #490961)
Garnacha grape. Pale salmon in colour; lightly floral, wild strawberry nose; medium-bodied, dry, well-extracted strawberry and watermelon flavours with zesty acidity and good length. (89) BB
Selbach Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken 2018 (Mosel, $34.95, Vintages #18922)
Light golden colour; minerally, honeyed grapefruit nose; light-bodied, off-dry, honey, apple and grapefruit flavours. Great length. (90) R
Quadrus 2015 (Douro Valley, $22.95, Vintages #440305)
55% Touriga Nacional, 30% Tinta Roriz, 15% Sousão. Deep purple colour; cedary, black plum nose with a toasty, oak spice note; full-bodied, savoury, dark chocolate, coffee bean and plum flavours; well-balanced and nicely integrated oak with ripe tannins. (The best vintage I’ve tasted of this wine.) (91) BB
Quinta dos Aciprestes Reserva 2017 (Douro, $24.95, Vintages #167627)
Dense purple colour; toasty, floral, mulberry and tobacco leaf nose with oak spice; full-bodied, richly extracted blackberry and plum flavours; well-structured and firm with a dark chocolate finish of mellow tannins (91) BB
La Regola Rosso di Toscano 2007 (Tuscany, $29.95, Vintages #420653)
Dense ruby colour with a mature rim; cedary, spicy, dried cherry and dark chocolate nose with a floral top note; medium to full-bodied, juicy, black fruit flavours with powdery tannins; firmly-structured and still vibrant. (90) R
Killer Drop 2018 (Northern California, $43.95, Vintages #13103)
Deep purple in colour; cedary, toasty, ground coffee, black fruits and vanilla oak on the nose; full-bodied, creamy, mocha, black cherry flavours with ripe tannins. (90) R
Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Cabernet Sauvignon 2018 (Sonoma County, $34.95, Vintages #161380)
Dense purple-black in colour; tasty, cedary, plum and blackcurrant nose with oak spice; medium to full-bodied; dry, richly extracted plum, black cherry and tobacco flavours, well balanced with acidity. A firm finish of grainy tannins. (90) R
Garage Wine Co. Bagual Vineyard 2016 (Maule Valley, Chile, $38.95, Vintages #19250)
A field blend of Carignan, Garnacha and Mataro. Deep purple colour; cedary, spicy, blackcurrant and fruit nose with a note of green tobacco leaf; medium-bodied, dry, lively plum and cherry flavours with vanilla oak notes; firmly structured with a warm alcoholic finish with gripping tannins on the finish. (89) R