Secret Wine Club – The Loire Valley

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Last Saturday, Colleen and I hosted another Secret Wine Club with our awesome friends. The theme this time was the Loire Valley. We featured wines from all corners of this swath of land, which runs along the Loire River, just South-East of Paris. This region produces primarily Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Melon de Bourgogne, and Cabernet Franc. The wines can be light and acidic with ample minerality or dark and brooding with weedy, earthy, red fruit undertones. I was on wine duty and Colleen was on food duty. We were quite excited to shop for the party.

Colleen and I like to do a mix of traditional and unconventional food pairings. We find that we are able to demonstrate “What grows together goes together” as well as “Look at everything you can do with California’s bounty” this way. Below you will find the wine list along with the foods we paired.

2010 Domaine de la Louvetrie Muscadet Sevre et Maine sur lie
Melon de Bourgogne from Muscadet
Manila clams sautéed in white wine, shallots, and butter with parsley.

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2012 Thirot-Fournier Sancerre
Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre
Herbed mixed green salad

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Le Pepie rosé Loire Vin de Pays
Rosé of Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley
Sweet peppers stuffed with fresh goat cheese & herbs

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2012 Henry Marionnet Touraine
Gamay from Touraine
Sausage, watercress and gruyere flatbread

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2011 Tessier “Le Point du Jour” Cheverney Rouge
Gamay/Pinot Noir blend from Cheverney
Mushroom, onion & gruyere puff pastry tarts

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2011 Bernard Baudry “Les Grezeaux” Chinon
Cabernet Franc from Chinon
Bonne Bouche and Terra aged goat cheeses with Acme Bakery Herb Slab crostini

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2004 Jerome Lenoir Chinon
Cabernet Franc from Chinon
Home-made pork terrine with Acme Bakery Herb Slab crostini

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2009 Francois Chidaine Vouvray Petillant Naturel
Petillant-Naturel of Chenin Blanc from Vouvray
Apple cake with whipped creme fraiche

All of the pairings were an absolute hit. I especially loved the goat cheese & herb stuffed peppers with the rosé and also the clams and Muscadet, a classic pairing. The favorite wine of the evening was the Gamay from Touraine. The favorite snacks were the pork terrine (aka “Pork Butter”) and the puff pastry tarts with mushrooms, onions & cheese. I found it especially interesting to try a fresh Chinon next to one with some age. We also learned that Shelley does NOT like brett on her wine (“It smells like a corpse!”) and that sparkling Vouvray with a little age is quite delicious. Regardless, everything was great, and the best part of it all is that none of these wines cost more than $25 retail. They can be enjoyed any night of the week.

Do you have a favorite Loire Valley wine? Let us know in the comments.