Monday, January 17, 2011

Reconnecting with Wines from the Loire Valley

One of the biggest complaints I hear about wine is it never tastes as good back home as it did the first time a person tried it. Could it be that the experience of discovering a great boutique winery in Napa, talking to the owner, and enjoying their barrel-select cab while looking over the golden hills of Northern California for an afternoon could have provided a better experience than uncorking the same bottle after getting back to a small apartment after a long day at work and having to fight with people on the Metro before settling down on the couch to watch Dancing with America’s Next Top Chef? The point is that the whole experience of trying a wine for the first time can greatly influence your feelings about it. It might not taste as good, because you don’t have the same scenery around you, but if it is a good wine, it can take you back, momentarily, to the place where you tried it before returning to your regularly-scheduled programming.

I was eager to try one of the bottles Caitlin and I got on our honeymoon – a Rose from the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. We stumbled upon the winery somewhat haphazardly – I think I got us lost – and there was a dog lying down in the middle of a village road that just happened to lead to a winery, which was open. An older gentleman greeted us and took us into the wine cellar where he poured us his wines and showed us pictures of his family, who had owned the winery for generations. It was a great wine tasting experience. The wines were very, very good and reasonably priced. We bought a sparkling, a white and a rose, which the Loire is known for.

The Rose we decided to pair with pizza recently, and much to my delight, it was just as good as I remembered it in France. The wine itself is light, crisp and well-balanced with flavors of strawberry and red cherries that has subtle hints of flowers and then some nice, light minerality on the finish. The first glass was at room temperature and the second glass was a bit more chilled. The wine tasted very good served at both temperatures. I have not found the wine stateside, and that is a shame, but the bottle was able to take me back.

Wine stores in the area are starting to carry at more selections from the Loire Valley, and Touraine roses are becoming a bit easier to find. They are wonderful alternatives to both reds and whites, and are versatile enough to be paired with just about anything. While Bordeaux and Burgundy will always be the most prestigious wine regions in France, great wines- and great wine values - from France's other wine-growing regions are becoming easier to find stateside.

1 comment:

  1. To check good wine and champagne, you can stay at that shop, or you are able to merely have a look at it.