Monday, May 7, 2012

A Day of Tasting: Loire Valley to Peavy Road

Hi, my name is Dave. I sell alcohol. All types. In order to do this I consume and taste alcoholic beverages. All types.

Even on my day off.

I spent last Monday in an all-day Tequila seminar conducted by the CRT (the governmental agency which controls Tequila production) which culminated in a tasting featuring the Casa Dragones. See other postings about this fabulous tequila.

Today I put on a clean shirt and headed downtown to the Mansion on Turtle Creek for a seminar and tasting of wines from the Loire Valley. Let me start by saying that warm late spring days are perfect for Loire Valley wines. As a whole, they are clean, crisp and driven by minerally acids. Nuanced flavors differ by appellation. The wines can best be described by what food they go best with and that would be shellfish and goat cheese.

The tasting was a little disappointing in breadth. It was sponsored by the Loire Valley Wine Bureau and promised to feature wines that were locally available. Too often, these trade association tastings feature a vast selection of wines that will never be available through local wholesalers. So today we saw the limited variety of what is available in the wholesale market. Their literature lists 46 Loire Valley appellations. The tasting had wines from 7 appellationsfrom 7 different suppliers, most of whom showed a Sancerre, a Vouvray, and a Muscadet. We have wines from 10 appellations in our store.

Sancerre was represented by 7 producers, Pouilly-Fume by 3 producers. All selections were lean, a couple were flat and grassy. My favorite was the  Pouilly-Fume Selection Silex by Domaine Vincent Vatan. Brilliant flashes of citrus were embedded in the flinty aromatics of the silex.

Muscadet was represented by 5 producers. All were sur-lies (aged on the yeast cells) which gives the always surprising hints of richness to these clean citurs, mineral driven wines. A few are great, almost all are serviceable, they should never be expensive.

Vouvray is always a mystery. Is it sweet or is it dry? Sometimes demi-sec bottlings are labeled, but not always. Ask your salesman or waiter before you order. Both versions can be delicious. Domaine Pichot is not labelled demi-sec, maybe it should be labeled demi-demi-sec. A hint of sweetness barely cuts the dry edge of the wine. The demi-sec Chateau de Montfort provides a richness that would be fabulous with spicy Asian dishes.

There was just one lone red wine, Chinon Marie de Beauregard from Saget et perriere was textbook Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, bright red cherries with a hint of darkness and tobacco leaf. But light and clean with no overwhelming oakiness.

And that was it: no Cremant, no Savenierres, no dessert wines, no lines of Sauvignons from Touraine lined up like infantry. But it was a great reminder of how delicous these wines are and how valuable they can be in the months ahead. They are wines best drunk cold when the weather is hot.

And then I went to Goodfriend on Peavy Road in way East Dallas for a burger and a couple of beers. The amber Avery Karma was perfect with the meaty burger and best waffle fries ever. The Karma was rich and precise beyond everything our local favor amber bock ever dreamed it could be. Stone Imperial Russian Stout was its infinitely deep dark self that just got deeper and darker as the day ground to a halt.

Then home for the daily meds, maybe a small glass of Amaro and that's it 'til the next one.

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