Clos Roche Blanche 2005 Touraine "Cuvée Côt" ($18.99)
Very dark blackish-purple color, almost opaque. Deep, plummy black fruit adds subtle notes of leather and a fragrant whiff of pepper. Flavors are similar, intense black plums, freshly ground pepper and a touch of Loire "rainwater over rocks" minerality. Crisp acidity and soft tannins come together to wrap up a well-balanced package. US Importer: LDM Wines Inc., NYC; Louis/Dressner Selections. (Mar 18, 2007)

FOOD MATCH: Thanks to their lean and minerally character, I like Loire reds with grilled poultry and pork, lighter far than the usual beef-and-red-wine match. I got experimental with a spicy Ma Po Tofu, which worked but really was not an inspired match ... but I had to try.

WEB LINK: http://www.louisdressner.com/Roche

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