Wine Focus: The Loire
Does your taste in desserts tend more toward the subtle and complex (panna cotta, say, or creme brulee, bread pudding or maybe shortbread) or toward the decadent and over-the-top (death-by-chocolate challenges or a banana split)?
If subtlety's your game, then your preferences in wine may similarly veer away from warm-climate blockbusters in favor of crisp, minerally wines like those from Europe's cooler river valleys including the Mosel, the Danube and the Loire.
We're focusing on the entire Loire region of France for Wine Focus in our WineLovers Discussion Group this month: White or red, dry, molleux or sweet, from Sancerre all the way downstream to Muscadet.
To get things started, today's featured tasting offers a quick look at a modest but food-friendly Muscadet. Muscadet is made from the Melon grape ("Meh-lawN" with a nasal French "n" at the end, not "melon" as in cantaloupe) grown in the granite soils of Muscadet, where the Loire runs into the North Atlantic in Brittany below the city of Nantes.
Made "sur lie," kept on the "lees" or sedimented yeast left over after fermentation until bottling, good Muscadet gains earthy, yeasty and stony flavors from this process and from the soil, mingled with tart lemon-zest and green-apple flavors from the cool-weather grape. It's a natural with the region's fresh oysters, and a good pick with all manner of seafood and fish.
Bring on your Loire notes, travel stories and questions: Click here to read and take part in the discussion on "Wines of the Loire."
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Today's Tasting Report
Domaine Guindon 2007 "Saint Géréon" Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire Sur Lie ($11.99)
Pale straw. White fruit, rising bread dough. Clean and crisp, bright acidity blends with tart lemon and green apple aromas and flavors with a hint of stony minerality on the palate. Good, simple Muscadet, fine at the table. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Mason, Ohio, and other regional importers. (Jan. 15, 2010)
FOOD MATCH: Oysters on the half-shell make the classic pairing for Muscadet, but its crisp, tart and minerally character goes well with just about any seafood or fish. It was excellent with pan-seared halibut with a simple variation on Spanish Romesco sauce.
VALUE: I can't locate a producer Website, but the U.S. importer links to an essay about Guindon Muscadet Coteaux de la Loire online.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Compare prices and find vendors for Domaine Guindon Muscadet on Wine-Searcher.com. Wine-Searcher yields mostly British vendors, but the wine is available in the U.S. Check with quality wine merchants, or if you're stumped, the importer, Vintner Select, may be able to point you toward retail vendors in your region.
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