Loirepalooza with Debra Lewis of Vintage ’59 Imports Wednesday April 23 kicking off at 5:30 pm, featuring wine from five rockstar Loire Valley wine growers paired with tasty small plates from Chef Brian. All glasses of Loire wines and pairing small plates will be offered at $7 each.
The Loire Valley stretches from France’s west coast all the way to the middle of the country. Within that expanse some of the most exciting wines in the world are being made, from numerous grapes grown in vineyards of unique climates and terroirs by some of France’s most dedicated winemakers. Vintage ’59 represents some of the best artisan producers throughout the region. They like to call them “underdogs”. We call them “rockstars”. Vintage ’59 was founded in 1997 by Roy Cloud who has since chronicled his journeys through France to unearth top growers in his excellent book “To Burgundy and Back Again”. We’re excited to have Debra Lewis on hand for her second Tannin Wine Bar event to guide us through these outstanding wines, where they come from, who grows them and why they’re so delicious with the classic dishes that Chef Brian will serve alongside them.
The wines of the Loire are enjoying a Renaissance of interest and appreciation in the United States right now. Many of the top sommeliers around the country, such as Pascaline Lepeltier at Rouge Tomate in NYC, have been tireless in touting the greatness and diversity of the region. Wine writers and journalists such as Alice Feiring and Eric Asimov of The New York Times have adamantly reinforced the appreciations of these wines, which are very expressive of their origins, pure of fruit and very versatile at the table.
Domaine Claude Branger “Le Fils des Gras Mouton” Muscadet-Sevre-et Maine ’12, paired with a Trio of Oysters. Claude and his son Sebastian hand farm and hand harvest 26 acres of Melon de Bourgogne grapes for this bottling which is aged in tank on its lees for 6 or 7 months before bottling less than 6,000 cases per year. This is classic Muscadet, fresh saltwater-mineral, lemony, textural and begging for a plate of oysters.
Domaine Merlin-Cherrier Sancerre ’12, paired with Chevre & Brioche Grilled Cheese. Thierry Merlin works in the village of Bue, home to some of the most classic and recognizable wines in the world, the Sauvignon Blanc of Sancerre. This is a hilly area with plenty of chalk, stony soil as well as limestone. These soils, with Thierry’s guidance, produce stony, precise, aromatic Sancerre with enough tangy grapefruit character to be sublime with a fresh Chevre-style goat cheese.
Le Rocher des Violettes “Touche Mitaine” Montlouis-sur-Loire Sec ’12, paired with Pork Rillettes, Cornichon & Dijon. Xavier Weisskopf is a Rhone native whose love of Chenin Blanc led him to leave his native land for very old Chenin parcels in Montlouis, across the Loire River from Vouvray. This bottle comes from a single vineyard called “Touch of the Mitten” as it sits at high elevation and is a rather cool microclimate. Touche Mitaine makes a racy wine with great intensity that is raised in older oak barrels. It is an ideal compliment to terrines, sausages and hams.
Domaine Henry Natter Sancerre Rouge ’12, paired with Fried Oyster Mushrooms with Port Salut Dipping Sauce. Henry Natter farms Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in the Sancerre village of Montigny which is known for its Kimmeridge soil (a unique limestone soil also found in Chablis) that gives incredible structure to both the white and red wines of the region. Sancerre was best known for its Pinots until Sauvignon Blanc came to dominate the plantings in the twentieth century. Today, Natter’s example stands among the few great examples of non-Burgundian French Pinot Noir.
Domaine Richou “Les 4 Chemins” Anjou Rouge ’12, paired with Slow Braised Beef Short Rib with Truffle Risotto. The Richou brothers, Didier and Damien, produce a tiny amount of this Cabernet Franc / Cabernet Sauvignon blend grown on schist soils. The older brother, Didier, trained as an intern at a vineyard in Minnesota of all places so he knows his way around cool climates. Vintage ’59 calls this “a terrific bistro wine” and we think it is a great drink with any meal.