Easy Spring Dinner with Pommes Gratin and Chinon – French #Winophiles


The Touraine region in the center of the map includes Touraine, Vouvray, Bourgeuil, Chinon. The villages are important as that’s how the wines are named. Map courtesy of wikipedia.org

French Winophiles Take Touraine by Storm
Continuing our virtual cruise up the Loire river, we’re picturing those fairytale castles as well as all the vineyards we’d like to visit. Moving inland, the main wine grapes remain Chenin Blanc for white and Cabernet Franc for red.  However, we also start to see Sauvignon Blanc coming into play, as well as some Gamay and Côt (aka Malbec).  The climate is getting progressively more continental, although several of the river valleys still have conditions conducive to botrytis or “noble rot”, which can encourage some very beautiful dessert wines from Chenin Blanc.

Chinon in the Spring, yes!

Chinon in the Spring, yes!

I must confess, I’m not the world’s biggest Cabernet Franc fan. Too many of them miss the mark for me.  New world versions are often just too ripe, and even traditional Loire valley versions often leave me unimpressed.  My one exception is Chinon.  For some reason, Chinon winegrowers seem to make Cab Franc that I love. It’s the non-fruit side of the grape that I love: earthy tones of barnyard, tobacco, leather, green pepper; yum!

Cabernet Franc is surprisingly deep in color for a medium body red wine

Cabernet Franc is surprisingly deep in color for a medium body red wine

Bernard Baudry Chinon “Les Grezéaux” AOC 2011 ($25 at Sunfish Cellars)
Eye: Cloudy, deep ruby color with a purple edge. Surprisingly dark for a medium bodied wine.
Nose: Tobacco, leather, a touch of green pepper and just a bit of  barnyard. Loved it! Fruit is way in the background, deep blueberries, but not raisined or overripe.
Mouth: Smooth medium body, medium acidity, gentle astringency from tannins, flavors of leather, tobacco carry on through the finish. Fruit is there but all in the background.

Asparagus means springtime, Pommes Gratin makes it France!

Asparagus and ramps mean springtime, Pommes Gratin makes it France!

Easy Spring Dinner
I started out thinking about Coq au Vin, as the Loire is one of several regions that claim this dish as their own.  It was a beautiful spring day in Minnesota, and the dutch oven stayed in place, the grill was on my mind! I grabbed some local chicken, asparagus and ramps – of course, it’s springtime, and decided to go for scalloped potatoes as a way to bring a French influence to our meal.

The potatoes are rich, so portion control is key!

The potatoes are rich, so portion control is key!

Gratin de Pommes de Terre au Bleu et à L’ail Confit
My son, Peter, and I are both followers of David Lebovitz’ blog and book “My Paris Kitchen“. I especially like the book as the recipes feature a reasonable number of ingredients and are eminently doable for the home cook.  Plus, the results are delicious, highly recommended! This recipe features plenty of blue cheese (I used St. Agur) and garlic, so you know it will taste great. I used the book, you can find the recipe online here:

Wine Pairing
I usually feature both a white and a red wine with the meal, you might be wondering why only red this month. I have a bit of a rant on Loire Valley Whites coming, so stay tuned.  They were axed from this post due to bad behavior!

The Baudry Chinon was very nice with the meal.  The rich, earthy flavors in the potatoes matched very nicely with the earthy tones in the Chinon. Even the asparagus played nicely with the wine, as the wine echoed a bit of the green character of the vegetables.

Lots of great ideas from the French Winophiles
If you see this post in time, please join our chat on Twitter, Saturday May 21 at 10am CDT.  Just search for #Winophiles on Twitter and you’re in!

Alice of  The Wine Culturist  shares “From the Loire to the Ends of the Earth: Cabernet Franc Untamed”

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla tempts us with “Cod in a Mushroom Cream Sauce with Dom Pichot Vouvray

Jill of L’Occasion shares “Vouvray During WW2: A Wine Worth Fighting For”

Jeff from foodwineclick brings us “Easy Spring Dinner with Pommes Gratin and Chinon”

Martin of Enofylz Wine Blog shares “A Taste of Montlouis Pétillant Originel

Michelle from Rockin Red Blog shares “Diving into Loire Valley Wines with Winophiles: Chinon

Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva  “Chicken and Chinon

Next month we wrap up our Loire investigation in the Central Loire, stay tuned!

loire_touraine_gratin_chicken_chinon_winophiles 20160515 323



12 Responses to “Easy Spring Dinner with Pommes Gratin and Chinon – French #Winophiles”
  1. Uh-oh! Can’t wait for the rant. Meal looks great. Always an easy drinking CF from Chinon. Thanks for tip on blog & recipe. Cheers!

  2. culinarycam says:

    I have never been a huge Cab Franc fan either. But I’be never poured a Chinon. Now, I’m on the hunt, Jeff. Thanks, as always, for the wine education!

  3. Stunning photos Jeff! Your food and wine pairing sounds fabulous!

  4. MeaghanC says:

    Beautiful photos! The meal and wine pairing looks fantastic!! Must try a CF from Chinon, I’m intrigued 🙂

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] Jeff from foodwineclick brings us “Easy Spring Dinner with Pommes Gratin and Chinon” […]

  2. […] Jeff from foodwineclick brings us “Easy Spring Dinner with Pommes Gratin and Chinon” […]

  3. […] Jeff from foodwineclick brings us “Easy Spring Dinner with Pommes Gratin and Chinon” […]

  4. […] the Loire river, stopping in each of the major sub-regions. My prior posts are here for Central, Touraine, Anjou-Saumur, and Nantais. This month, we’re revisiting wines of Anjou and Saumur. Take a […]

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