Seafood Brochettes with the Wines of Anjou & Saumur – French #Winophiles
French #Winophiles Cruise the Loire, Part 2
In our four session virtual cruise up the Loire river, we have left the Pays Nantais and the coast behind and have entered the Anjou-Saumur region. The Melon de Bourgogne grape is gone. Now we have Chenin Blanc grapes for white wines, and Cabernet Franc for reds.
Anjou and Saumur
We have left the coast behind, but the influence of the Atlantic ocean can still be felt in the region. The climate is still relatively cool and foggy, but doesn’t experience autumn rains. This means that some sections of the Loire and tributaries may have the conditions to promote botrytis, the “noble rot” that allows production of luscious, sweet dessert wines.
Chenin Blanc is the Star
The Chenin Blanc grape is very adaptable and can be used to produce both excellent dry wines, semi-dry wines and also sweet dessert wines. All can be found in Anjou, so you’ll want to do a little homework around the different AOC villages and what they produce.
We’ll be pairing the dry wines from Anjou and Saumur with seafood brochettes. As the Minnesota spring weather gets more consistent, we love firing up the grill. Pretty soon we might even eat our first outdoor meal, a sure sign of spring!
Cave de Saumur “Reserve des Vignerons” Saumur AOC 2014 ($13.50 at Surdyk’s)
The village of Saumur produces both whites made from Chenin Blanc and reds made from Cabernet Franc. Most Loire Cab Franc wines are medium bodied with light tannins. Sometimes they will show a bit of vegetal aroma with notes of green pepper.
Eye: Light, transparent ruby red with definite purple edge
Nose: Green pepper and cherries/cranberries
Mouth: Lean, underripe red fruit, medium- tannins. Cranberries and green peppers.
Domaine des Baumard Savennières AOC 2012 ($25 from Surdyk’s)
White wines from the village of Savennières are made from Chenin Blanc and are known for an ability to age beautifully. They will almost always be dry, but the AOC rules allow demi-sec as well, so you may want to ask your salesperson. The Domaine des Baumard is bone dry.
Eye: Pale lemon color, clear
Nose: Flint and almonds, white flowers, underripe pears in the background.
Mouth: Medium body, medium acidity, flinty almond with a touch of bitterness. This wine was a bit severe on its own, but was delicious with food.
Saumur Rouge and Savennières at the Dinner Table
The Baumard Savennières was perfect with scallop/shrimp skewers. The slight bitterness in the wine’s finish was a nice counterpoint to the rich scallops, especially given they were wrapped in bacon. I thought the bacon wrap would provide a savory element to pair with the Saumur, but the wine and the dish never really seemed to gel. Savennières for the win!
Chateau de la Roulerie Coteaux du Layon 2014 ($19 from Surdyk’s)
No visit to the regions of Anjou and Saumur would be complete without sampling one of the sweet wines of the region. As mentioned above, the climate supports the formation of botrytis in some sections of the Loire river and its tributaries. Here we have a wine from grapes grown on the slopes of the Layon river, a tributary of the Loire which joins the main river at the town of Anjou. Coteaux du Layon wines may or may not be affected by botrytis. You might miss some of the haunting flavors, but your wallet will thank you!
Regulations for Coteaux du Layon require a minimum residual sugar of 34g/l. That’s sweet! A typical dry wine is < 8g/l residual sugar. For your reference, Coca-Cola is 108g/l This wine finished at 12% alcohol, so the grapes were loaded with sugar to begin with thanks to the long, dry fall
Eye: medium gold color, clear
Nose: Sweet, candied citrus, rich, medium + intensity
Mouth: Sweet with high acidity. Nice balance, very nice dessert wine. Unctous, rich mouthfeel. I enjoyed this wine over several evenings all by itself, but it would pair beautifully with shortbread cookies, or a nice fruit tart.
French Winophiles Explore Anjou & Saumur
Join us on Saturday, April 16th for a live Twitter Chat at 10 am CST using the hashtag #Winophiles to share your favorite wines, food, and travel experiences from Anjou and Saumur in the Loire Valley.
To learn more about the wines from Anjou and Saumur, make sure to visit:
Christy from The Culinary Diva shares “Chenin from Saumur, Cabernet Franc from Anjou“
Alice from The Wine Culturist will be joining us and sharing her perspective from South America
David of Cooking Chat shares “Asparagus Chicken Bow Tie Pasta with Anjou Blanc Wine”
Michelle from Rockin Red Blog shares “Diving into Loire Valley #wine with #Winophiles: Anjou”