Sip in Spring with Loire Valley Whites

Sip in Spring with Loire Valley Whites

jean-pierre1_400x300_400Known as “The Garden of France,” the Loire Valley is a treasure trove of vinous delights. With astounding diversity of grapes and styles, there’s a Loire wine suited to any palate. Here are its most famous white wine regions, along with some appetizers to savor alongside them.

In the far western stretch of the Loire Valley sits Muscadet. Grown close to where the Loire River meets the Atlantic, the wines here pair exquisitely with the region’s seafood – oysters, in particular. Muscadet also delivers a remarkable value; the very best bottles are still a bargain. Try preparing this recipe for oysters with apple mignonette along with one of these Muscadets:

CLAUDE BRANGER “Les Fils de Gras Mouton” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2013 (Muscadet, France) $13
DOMAINE DE L’ECU “Gneiss” Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2012 (Muscadet, France) $20

Chenin blanc rises to its pinnacle in the middle Loire. The regions to look for are Vouvray and Savennières. Savennières is always bone dry, but Vouvray ranges from sweet to dry and still to sparkling. These wines often carry a beautiful honeyed nuttiness that will go well with these pear, walnut, and ricotta crostini from Martha Stewart. Here are a few dry chenin blancs we love:

CHAMPALOU Vouvray Pétillant Brut NV (Vouvray, France) $20
DOMAINE HUET “Clos du Bourg” Vouvray Sec 2012 (Vouvray, France) $35
DOMAINE DU CLOSEL “La Jalousie” Savennières (Savennières, France) $25

Celebrated as one of the great international grape varieties, sauvignon blanc makes its ancestral home at the Loire Valley’s eastern boundary. The classic sauvignon blanc pairing is goat cheese; both the wine and the cheese are tangy and electrifying. Chèvre, as the French call goat cheese, also carries a long history of production in the Loire. Enjoy these goat cheese and mushroom canapés with one of these sauvignon blancs:

PASCAL JOLIVET “Les Caillottes” Sancerre 2014 (Sancerre, France) $36
DOMAINE VACHERON “Les Romains” Sancerre 2012 (Sancerre, France) $49
DE LADOUCETTE “Baron de L” Pouilly-Fumé 2009 (Pouilly-Fumé, France) $100

To learn more about sauvignon blanc from the Loire and beyond, join us on Twitter for #SipWithKaren on May 21, 5-6pm PST/8-9pm EST.

Do you have a favorite Loire Valley wine pairing? Share it with us below!

Photo Credit: Jean-Pierre

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