Tuesday, 30 July 2013
Loire Wine & Food Pairing
Did you know that the Loire is France's third largest wine growing area? It stretches all the way from Nantes to Blois, with 450 wine-producing villages in eight departments. There are 4,000 vineyards growing a variety of grapes, with perfect weather conditions. You need moderate sunshine with a uniform rainfall, and the wind - blowing in from the Atlantic - provides just the right amount of coolness, keeping the temperatures stable.
All of this makes for stunning wines, offering a variety and intensity of flavours. 22% of the wines produced here are rosés, 45% whites, 23% reds and the last 10% are fines bulles wines.
I was recently sent two bottles of Loire wines to try, a Muscadet (left) and a Rosé d'Anjou (right) - two very different wines. I was asked which food I thought would go well with the wines.
For the Muscadet Sévre et Maine Sur Lie I chose a make-ahead pasta dish and salad. This wine is light, fresh and crisp, made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape and picked from 35 year old vines. It is matured for 6 months, giving it a more complex flavour.
The pasta dish is quite complex itself, pasta (penne) mixed with roasted tomatoes, garlic and red onions, which is then put into a baking dish and a sauce made from onions, mushrooms, three different cheeses, herbs, chillies, cream and wine. The sauce is poured over the pasta and topped with more cheese and breadcrumbs before baking until hot and bubbling, served alongside french bread and a crisp salad.
We all agreed that this worked really well, giving our taste buds a real workout - the lemon tones and acidity cutting through the strong cheese flavours of the pasta.
I decided to make use of the hot weather that we have been blessed with and take the Rosé d'Anjou on a picnic. A beautiful warm pink colour, this wine is a favourite of mine. It goes well with almost any food you throw at it! Poultry, white meat and spicy dishes will bring out the freshness of the wine, which is traditionally produced from Grolleau grapes, harvested before over ripening occurs.
Served chilled, the Rosé d'Anjou was the perfect accompaniment to the star of our picnic - little vegetarian cheesy rolls (adapted from this Delia Smith recipe), with a filling of strong cheddar, onion, fresh herbs and a hint of chilli - all encased in a light shortcrust pastry.
Ready for a picnic
Vignerons du Pallet, finest Muscadet, 2011
Famille Bougrier, Rosé d'Anjou, 2011
Retailer: The Wine Society
Notes on how to taste wines properly in three easy steps can be found here, in my Chablis post.
Disclosure: I was sent two bottles of wine to demonstrate how Loire wines can go with different foods from any region - Merci! All views are my own.
Please drink responsibly, visit Drinkaware for more information.
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