I have some goals for the New Year. One of them is to write 50 blog entries this year. Another one is to get more experience in the wine industry. To fulfill the latter, I signed up to contract as a wine demo rep for tastings at wine shops and liquor stores around town. My hope with this new venture is to be exposed to some new wines I wouldn’t know about otherwise, and to make a little extra money to support the first goal.
This past weekend was supposed to be my first demo. I was charged with offering samples of three Loire wines to consumers at a large wine store in town. Ideally, I was supposed to find a Sancerre, a Vouvray, and a Muscadet. Unfortunately, due to some scheduling conflicts, I wasn’t able to run that demo. In the spirit of the new venture, I decided a scheduling conflict wasn’t going to stop me from learning more about a wine to which I have limited exposure.
The Loire valley starts at the Atlantic ocean south of Bretagne and stretches 600 miles, making it the most diverse wine region in France. There are 87 appellations d’origine contrôlée in the valley and all types of wines are produced there. It is the second largest producer of sparkling wine in France behind Champagne. But the Loire valley with its cool northern climate is known most for its white wines, mainly Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc. Loire wines are known for their crisp acidity due to the cool climate.
The Loire Valley is divided into three sections. Starting in the west close to where the Loire River meets the Atlantic ocean is Muscadet. Muscadets are dry, white wines made from the melon Bourgogne grape. Muscadet’s are often paired with seafood and are known for being neutral.
Sancerre is on the opposite end of the Loire. Sancerre wines are made from sauvignon blanc and are known to be crisp and herbal.
In between the two regions is Vouray, which lies close to Tours in the center of the valley. Wines from Vouvray are made from Chenin Blanc. Vouvray can range from super sweet to super dry and a portion of it is often used to make sparkling wine; especially during cool years.
I picked up a bottle of Tuffeau Vouvray for this entry. There wasn’t much information to go on from the bottle. It was a 2009 vintage, 100% chenin blanc wine that is part of the Appellation Vouvray Contrôlée, which means that it meets all the rigorous standards of French wine label laws. The color was very light. I would call it the color of spun gold if I was writing a fairy tale. It was a soft, buttery wine, but without the thickness and oak of chardonnay. The flavors that stood out were pineapple and a little salt. It agreed with my husband, who prefers sweeter, and me who would rather have a dry white wine.