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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Report on Loire Valley Wines...

Loire Valley Wine [] was one of the few regional wine marketing teams that took the initiative by presenting actual real wines to the local Ontario wine media during the pandemic. It was done via SOPEXA, the French food and wine marketing bureau...and the upshot was that I was the recipient of both a six pack of wine and a loaded picnic basket crammed with relevant food pairings for an outdoor gathering.
While there was a suggested pairing menu, we could taste the wines and foods in any order, as in a mix and match mode. There were tinned sardines in olive oil, suggested to be paired with the Parlez-Vous IGP Sauvignon Blanc 2019. It was a delightful workable combination without the Parlez-Vous being overwhelmed. Other wines, which actually went better with the sardines, included the zesty Chateau de la Grange Muscadet Vieilles Vignes 2018 and the Thierry Delaunay Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2020.
Next up was a pork rillette, meant to go with the B & G Vouvray 2019, and this was spot on. A great match with the off-dry Vouvray, and surprisingly, the Parlez-Vous IGP Sauvignon Blanc also went well since the rillette was principally pork with fat. The Thierry Delaunay savvy was a tad heavier than expected with the rillette. The lighter bodied IGP savvy was greater on the palate and managed to cleanse away the fatty falavours more efficiently.
The next course was the East Coast lobster roll (brioche bun), to be paired with the Touraine and the Jean-Max Roger Sancerre 2019. There were two buns, one for each of us, so my wife toasted one of the buns and we split the two lobster rolls in half, each of us getting a toasted portion. Toasting the roll stiffened the bun and gave it a smoky allure. The Sancerre overtook the Touraine, but the Sancerre itself was overtaken by the Patrice Moreux Pouilly-Fume 2017. The basic soft brioche roll was a melt-in-your-mouth experience, and paired naturally with the Thierry Delaunay Sauvignon Blanc 2020 and the Jean-Max Roger Sancerre 2019. Ultimately, the Patrice Moreux Pouilly-Fume 2017 was declared the winning wine so far as lobster was concerned. Complexity meets complexity.
The last course was, of course, the cheese course: three sprightly representatives – paillot de chevre, a grand crème (triple creme), and a petit Cantal (a smaller version of the 88-pound wheel). We tried all six wines, and the overall winner was the complex Patrice Moreux Pouilly-Fume 2017. The understated wines were very light for the heavy cream based cheeses. The B & G Vouvray 2019 also stood out as it was off-dry, while the Muscadet Vieilles Vignes was also an inspired choice.
Here are the six wines that we had, with my tasting notes and LCBO details:
1.Lacheteau Parlez-Vous Sauvignon Blanc 2019 IGP Val de Loire +647099 LCBO General List $11.75: a good value savvy, with nods to tropical fruit and grass, but very easy going and very tasty, almost a savvy for beginners. A good way to get into the grape. 12.5% ABV, 4g/L residual sugar. Pairs very well with goat cheese e.g. paillot de chevre.
Quality/Price rating is 90 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
2.Chateau de la Grange Muscadet Cotes de Grand Lieu Vieilles Vignes 2018 +637868 Vintages $13.95: minerally driven from 40 year old vines, and reflecting melon, orchard fruit, and ending with a long citrus clean finish. 11.7% ABV, 2gL residual sugar. Do not serve too chilled. Good with a variety of seafood and poultry. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
3.Thierry Delaunay La Salamandre Sauvignon Blanc 2020 Touraine +391847 Vintages $16.95:
Touraine is my fave go to region for sauvignon blanc, principally because it is so value-driven. You get a lot of bang for your buck: freshness, ripe peaches and melons, some cut grass (but not too zesty as in Kiwi land). Good finishing citrus acidity. This was the freshest wine of the tasting pack of six. 12% ABV, 4g/L residual sugar. Great with a cheese platter and/or sushi. Quality/Price rating is 92 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
4.Barton & Guestier Les Petites Parcelles Chenin Blanc 2019 Vouvray +232264 Vintages $16.95: tons of fruit aromas, both orchard and tropical. Good aperitif social wine, could be best with Asiatic spicy food, or a creamy cheese platter. It was useful with the pork rillette and the grand crème cheese. 12% ABV, 23g/L residual sugar. Quality/Price rating is 89 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
5.Jean-Max Roger Cuvee Genese 2019 Sancerre +189126 Vintages $33.95: an organic wine with cold fermentation, natural yeasts, some aging on heavy lees. Ripe fruit flavours and some zest from the sauvignon blanc, but not as nervy as the Antipodean style. Freshness has been retained by its minerality. 12.5% ABV, 2g/L residual sugar. Can be aged for a few years to show more complexity. Goes very well with all kinds of seafoods. Quality/Price rating is 91 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
6.Patrice Moreux Corty Artisan La Loge Aux Moines 2017 Pouilly-Fume +18493 Vintages $48: some organic principles are followed, but mainly for fertilizing and limited intervention and then, only when necessary (the producer also follows the lunar cycle during the vinification process). Taste: a juicy palate throughout with citrus tones evidenced on the mid-palate before resolving to more fruitiness and finishing with a minerality that makes it all food-worthy. It's very complementary to richly grilled fish, saucy scallops, creamy poultry, and fresh cheese platters. 13.5% ABV, 2g/L residual sugar. Can be aged another 5 years or so. Don't serve too cold. Quality/Price rating is 93 points by Dean Tudor of Gothic Epicures.
You get old and you realize there are no answers -- just stories.

Dean Tudor, Ryerson University Journalism Professor Emeritus
Treasurer, Wine Writers' Circle of Canada
Look it up and you'll remember it; screw it up and you'll never forget it.

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