Memorial Day weekend is here and friends have headed to the beach or hightailed it up to their country cabins and lakes. For those of us that have chosen to stay home, we’ve been swimming, grilling and hanging out!
While grilling Vidalia onions and mushrooms last evening, I took stock of my herb and vegetable garden. I was very pleased to see that my strawberry plant is producing such large fruit. And, the strawberries are very sweet! I’m thinking that strawberries pureed with vodka and crushed ice would make a fun summer drink!
I’ve been looking forward to opening Soulmates Wines 2008 Zinfandel and I was hoping to try it last night. But with temperatures hovering close to 90 degrees, we needed to drink something a touch lighter and a bit cooler! However, it will be the first red wine that I open when the temperatures drop a bit.
We ended up opening a 2015 Jean-Picard Sancerre Le Chemin de Marloup Sauvignon Blanc that was chilled to perfection. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc was pale lemon with soft aromas of citrus, peach, strawberry, floral notes and a hint of vanilla. On the palate this full-bodied wine was understated and refreshing. The texture was creamy with mingled flavors of pear, nectarine, & a hint of herbs. The Picard family has been producing wine in Sancerre since 1750. The vineyard is located next to the Loire on the Bue’ slopes which are reputed to be one of the finest for quality. I look forward to trying their Sancerre Rose’ and Sancerre Red soon.
Happy Sunday…and enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend!
I have never actually set foot on Loire Valley’s terra firma, but on Tuesday I was transported there gratis of Loire Valley Wines “Spring to Loire 2016”. It was a day filled with seminars and walk around tastings. The event took place under a festive glassed in garden at The Park in NYC’s Chelsea district.
Twenty-seven importers showcased wines from the distinctive wine regions of Pays Nantais, Anjou, Saumur, Touraine and Centre-Loire. In addition, Christopher Bates, a Master Sommelier, gave three thirty-minute seminars on Touraine, Cabernet Franc and All styles Chenin.
Loire Valley spans 170 miles and is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River, (France’s longest river) in central France. Loire Valley is also called the “Garden of France” noted for its vineyards, floral gardens, castles and historic towns.
The Loire Valley wine region is France’s third largest wine making region and ranks second in production of rosés. The vineyards, situated along the river, stretch from the Atlantic coast to north central France. The diversity in soil composition and climate along this stretch plays a key role in the production and characteristics of the wine.
Pays Nantais region is closest to the Atlantic Ocean and produces Muscadet, made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. An interesting note, more Muscadet is produced than any other Loire wine. Muscadet tends to be light-bodied and dry. The high acidity and soft citrus notes make for easy food pairing.
Anjou region is located in the western Loire Valley and is best known for its fruity rosés and red wines. Many of Loire Valley’s sweet wines are produced here. Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc are the most prominent grapes used.
Saumur is considered a premiere sparkling wine region in France and is also noted for its red wines made with Cabernet Franc. The main variety of grape for white wines is Chenin Blanc. Due to the chalky soil, the sparkling wines tend to drink like champagne. The Reds lean towards fruity and light-bodied.
Touraine has many famous appellations that include Vouvray, made from Chenin Blanc and Chinon and St. Nicolas de Bourgueil, both made from Cabernet Franc. The red wines from this region are made mostly from Cabernet Franc, Gamay and Malbec and tend to be rich in tannins. Most of the white wines are made with Sauvignon Blanc and tend to be dry and refreshing with an edge of fruit and tart.
Centre-Loire region is at the center of France. “It is the original home of Sauvignon Blanc and of Sancerre, the world’s most prestigious Sauvignon Blanc wine that sets international standards for the grape”, as cited from Loire Valley Wines.
The majority of the wines that come from the Loire Valley are pressed from a single varietal as opposed to most classic French wines that are blended. It is easier to discern the terroir of the single varietal grapes through aroma and taste.
With over 4000 wineries in the Loire Valley, one could spend several months there exploring, enjoying and sipping. I was delighted to spend a few hours learning about the Loire Valley and tasting some very interesting wines! Hopefully, I will be able to move beyond NYC and experience this beautiful area of France first hand!
We went from several days of warm weather to waking up to cold temperatures this morning. Brrr…. The heat was turned back on and the windows were closed again.
To celebrate the “warmer” temperatures the other evening, a friend and I dined on mussels, pasta and swordfish. The balmy weather seemed to warrant a more “summery” type menu. Our choice of wine reflected that as well. We opened a 2011 Domaine Huet Vouvray Sec Le Mont Chenin Blanc to complement the meal. The wine is produced in the Vouvray district of the Loire valley. This was a lovely dry Chenin Blanc with a golden color. The aromas of honeysuckle, green tea and floral notes were present. The palate offered soft fruits, pear, lemon and medium acidity. The finish was long with hints of apple lingering.
I have a feeling that I will be drinking heartier wines this weekend!
The first hurricane of the season, Arthur, made its presence known last night, even though it was hundreds of miles away. My house shook all evening with violent thunderclaps and the fireworks display (lightning) rivaled Macy’s Fourth of July fireworks.
My air conditioner was blasting and I was reminded of the days I used to live in Miami Beach with high humidity and temps in the 90’s. Ugh…
I felt it was important to stay hydrated, so the water bottles came out and the wine bottles stayed in the cabinet and refrigerator. Hence, no reviews today.
I will leave you with this photo of wine corks, courtesy of Wine Folly.
Stay cool…stay hydrated!
After a restful day by the pool, I got busy preparing the evening’s meal. I did the prep work and then went back outside to welcome the sunset. I was accompanied by a lovely bottle of the Cheverny, White Loire wine and a friend. I reviewed this wine on my Day Eight post…no need to go into detail, but suffice it to say, it was quite lovely and didn’t disappoint.
We then opened a bottle of 2008 Terra d’Uro Toro Seleccion from Spain. It is 100% Tempranillo grape, also called “Tinta De Toro” It was a stellar wine and went well with the salmon and vegetables. The color was a beautiful garnet with strong tannins that got silkier as the wine opened. I tasted berries, clove, plum and coffee. This was a full bodied wine with a long finish. Superb!! As we dined al fresco, enjoying the evening, we savored the last drops of our wine.
It is going to be another beautiful day and it’s time to sit by the pool and read the Sunday paper.
It was a beautiful late afternoon with a perfect breeze and low humidity. I thought about having a glass of wine, but then decided to have my “go to” favorite spirit…vodka.
I consider myself quite knowledgeable on the topic of vodka and have tasted all so many brands and types. For the most part, I’m a purist when it comes to drinking vodka. I like it straight out of the freezer and into my glass…no ice…no fruit…just vodka. When I drink vodka straight up, which is most of the time, I lean towards drinking Grey Goose, Belvedere, Chopin, Van Gogh and Zyr. They are smooth and very tasty. If I’m mixing vodka with anything, I go to the next tier of vodkas.
Like wine, spirits and art, it is all subjective when it comes to taste. Whatever floats your boat is the right choice. No judgment from the peanut gallery!
So there I sat at sunset with Grey Goose in good hand, enjoying the flavors and watched the sultry day turn into a sweet evening.
After pondering over what wine to open last night, the Sancerre won. It was a good decision. I chose a Remy Pannier Sancerre 2012. It was young, but had a wonderful bouquet and all that I expected in a Sancerre…dry with hints of grapefruit, chalk and a long finish. I would have photographed the bottle for you, but being one handed these days, it proved a little difficult.
As my wrist continues to heal, I think that I will start perusing the “yarn” websites for some inspiration with my next project. I’m leaning towards a silky creation. I guess it just depends on what yarns “call out” to me.
Guilty as charged. I played hooky yesterday and didn’t post anything.
I’ve been resting my broken wrist and willing it to mend quickly. I’m anxious to start another knitting project. However, I did find a good use for the knitting needles. They make wonderful “itch” scratchers under the arm cast!
Today will be a quiet one as I ponder which wine to open at sunset. I’m leaning towards Sancerre or Pouilly-Fume. Both are made with 100% Sauvignon Blanc and come from the Loire Valley. The Pouilly-Fume is a dry wine and full-bodied. Whereas the Sancerre is medium -bodied, dry and very aromatic.
Please share your thoughts with me as to what you prefer!