Touraine and Rose d’Anjou – easy drinkers for the summer

Aug 11, 15 Touraine and Rose d’Anjou – easy drinkers for the summer

Posted by in All

I’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Loire Valley a few times and the wines never fail to surprise me. I often forget what wonderful easy drinking wines they are and how they pair so well with food due to their diverse flavour profiles. Recently, I attended a dinner with Square Meal at Portland Restaurant in Marylebone. The Portland serve seasonal produce and the dinner was full of fresh spring greens and veggies as well as a succulent pork belly but more on that in a minute. First the wines. We were served a selection of 3 rosés and 2 Touraine wines and one red Touraine wine. Touraine is made with sauvignon blanc and the rosés were mostly Grolleau, which is common in the Loire Valley. Touraine wines are a great choice for spring and summer as they are light and refreshing. We started with the Dom. Bellevue 2014 as an aperitif, very refreshing and crisp way to start the evening. The plan was to mix up the evening a bit and so we then moved onto a Rosé d’Anjou. These wines are off dry but when served with a fatty dish such as the pork rillettes that we scarfed down, they are perfect. Rosés are also great with dessert and the almond pithivier with raspberry jam was a great match, the red fruits in the wine pairing nicely with the strawberry jam. I also like the fact that the rosés are so light, unlike proper dessert wines, which although I love, can be a bit much after a heavy meal. We had the La Jaglerie  Rosé d’Anjou with dessert. As the Portland emphasises fresh and local produce, the main of old spot pig belly was excellent with the Red Touraine Les Marcottes Dom de Pierre 2012. Although the Loire is not known for it’s red wines, they do make vibrant red wines with loads of acidity and very fresh red and black fruit flavours. An excellent wine to cut through the fatty goodness...

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Bicycling through the Loire, part 2

Jun 27, 12 Bicycling through the Loire, part 2

Posted by in France, Lifestyle, Travel

The next day we had an early start, catching the train to Saumur, a short 45 minute train ride away. The weather was not as nice in the morning but as the day went on it cleared up to be a sunny afternoon. Seriously, when you’re on a bicycle, you don’t want it to be TOO sunny now do you? We headed through the vineyards of Saumur to our first stop of the day, Clos du Cristal. We had a wine tasting smack in the middle of the vineyards. An interesting note about Clos du Cristal is that their cabernet franc vines are planted against a wall with a hole about shoulder height. A large section of the vineyard is a series of rows of these walls.  Once the vines reach that height, the leaves and bunches of grapes all grow on the other side of the wall. The effect is that it looks like the vines are hiding from you on one side and the other side has grapes poking out of holes in the wall! This was done to keep the roots cool while still allowing the berries to get lots of sun. It seems to work as the cab franc was balanced with not too many vegetal notes coming through. Clos du Cristal is organic and they don’t use pesiticides as evidenced by the flocks of geese and chickens running around the vines. We hopped on our bikes and headed to a restaurant carved out of the soft rocks, L’Helianthe. I forgot to mention earlier that the region is dotted by troglodyte caves. The caves were dug out of the rocks thousands of years ago and were later used (and still are) as caves for the wines. Nowadays, it has become fashionable to use the caves as second homes by the locals. Or, a restaurant in this case. Lunch was quite tasty and one of the highlights was a Coteaux du Layon. Not far from the restaurant is Chateau de Targe....

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