Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Loire Valley: Hot Damn!

By Jessica Yadegaran
Friday, September 22nd, 2006 at 11:35 am in Uncategorized.

I went to an early Thanksgiving dinner at Rubicon last night in SF to learn more about wines from the Loire Valley, the region south west of Paris. Aside from being a warm and fabulous night hosted by the French, with folks from Gourmet, Savuer and Chow in attendance, Jenny and I fell in love with Cabernet Francs coming out of the Loire. Here are some standouts:

Gratien & Meyer Cuvee Flamme Saumur Brut Rose NV: Only $19.99 and mostly from Cab Franc; however, the 32 percent Grolleau, a grape used mostly for blending, gives this elegant sparkling an unusually caramel color. Gorgeous!

Domaine Philippe Alliet Chinon Vieilles Vignes 2004: Alliet de-stems grapes after harvesting to eliminate any vegetal characteristics, which explains why Jenny, lover of meaty California cab and Australian shiraz, was gushing more than a ripe grape over this wine. Talk about bacon fat. Hot damn! Only $22.99.

Chateau de Fesles Bonnezaux 1999: Just to show that the high Loire quality is enough to make converts out of Big Red snobs, this Chenin Blanc dessert wine grew on us after half a few whips and swirls. The gold color, the non-syrupy quality, and the heavenly caramelized pumpkin cream cheese custard served with it certainly made me nostaglic for my younger palate, with its penchant for orange muscato. This is the far superior, grown up version. $60.

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