Beat the Heat with Loire Valley Wines
As the weather in Nashville begins to heat up, most people think of breaking out the grill and cracking into a cold bottle of beer. But for the wine drinkers among us, summertime means the return of the same standard wines that, though delicious, lack that element of excitement that the warming of the weather calls for. While we know there are better options out there, sometimes we just don’t have the time to look for them. Luckily for the discerning drinker, we have you covered! France’s Loire Valley offers a wide range of wines whose bright acidity pairs perfectly with summertime heat.
Louis de Grenelle Saumur Brut Rose NV
A frankly ludicrous value, this traditional method sparkling wine from Saumur is made from 100% hand-harvested Cabernet Franc. The 24 months it spends aging on lees before disgorgement is longer than the minimum for NV Champagne (you know, the kind that would run you $50), all for a mere $20. A prime candidate for gulping all summer long, and pairing with a wide array of lighter grill fare.
Pierre Luneau-Papin “Clos des Allées” Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie 2013
Commonly confused with Moscato, this totally DRY white wine from the far western reaches of the Loire valley is made from hand-harvested Melon de Bourgogne grapes. Extended aging on lees balances the natural acidity of this Muscadet with a lovely structure and mouthfeel. Perfect for the Chardonnay drinker looking to branch out, or for pairing with that bread and herb-crusted halibut you’re serving.
Joseph Mellot Sancerre Rouge “Le Rabault” 2011
Known mostly for its bright and refreshing white wines, Sancerre is also home to a delicious selection of red wines made from Pinot Noir. This particular offering, from steep hillside vineyards planted with 30-year-old vines, offers a tantalizing balance between the acidity the Loire is known for, and the ripe cherry and currant notes that a good vintage for Loire reds can provide. If you’re grilling any kind of chicken or heavier fish this summer, this is your wine. Try serving it at cellar temperature (around 58°F) to beat the summer heat!
Did you have a good holiday? We sure did!
The holidays may have come and gone, but the cold weather seems pretty eager to stick around. All these plummeting thermostats have the Midtown Wine and Spirits night crew thinking…what kind of wine or spirit do we all want to have on hand when Old Man Winter won’t let us leave the house?
Lou: I made a great big pot of chili to last me through the cold snap, so give me a spicy red wine -preferably a Rioja like our staff favorite Vina Eguia Crianza – and I will be a happy woman!
Ingo: It’s 40 degrees below zero up in Winnipeg, so I figure that if it’s good enough to get one through a Canadian Winter, it’s good enough for me down here in Nashville. I’d go with Caribou Crossing.
Josh: I may look tough, but I like the sweet things in life — when the weather gets chilly, you’ll find me bundled up under a blanket with a warm drink that contains a healthy dash of Whisper Creek Tennessee Sipping Cream.
Travis: In cold weather, I like to put on old records and sip on a nice cognac, or maybe some Chambord drizzled on top of ice cream – but, when it’s this chilly you can’t go wrong with an island spirit like rum — preferably some Diplomatico!
Korie: If I’m snowed in, I better be snowed in with some sparkling wine. I want to celebrate my life in style even when it’s not beach weather, so I would go with something pink and glamorous, like Mirabelle Rose!
Matt: A high proof whiskey (like Old Granddad 114!) would do the trick for me. And I wouldn’t complain about a high alcohol beer with some holiday cheer, like The Missing Elf (9.5% Alcohol).
Claire: I crave spices when the temperature drops so I’ll be curling up with my cat and a warm and toasty amaro, like Montenegro. I have been eyeing the Absolut Chicago, however, so that might be my top choice — a savory vodka with Rosemary and Olive notes sounds like a wonderful way to beat the cold — don’t forget to ice it down like a Chicagoan would: in the snow!!
Eric (our next door neighbor at the Midtown Beer and Cigar): Everyone knows that winter is the best time of year for the highest of high gravity beers – this is the perfect weather for TenFiddy!
This is the perfect time of year to pair your favorite wine with fresh produce from the farmer’s market. This week, Nat has a suggestion for a vegetarian-friendly dish that will play very nicely with the Calcu Rose Reserva:
“Because this is a refined and elegant Chilean Rose with wild berries and lemon blossoms on the nose followed by crisp, vibrant, fresh notes on the palate, it works very well when paired with vegetable dishes such as risotto or rice.
Primarily Malbec with 35% Syrah and just 10% Petit Verdot (this last grape being the one that gives the wine its crisp dryness), this Rose would also be delightful with a potato salad made of tiny fingerling potatoes (very Chilean!), along with cilantro, onions, garlic, celery, and chopped hard-boiled eggs. You can also further integrate the Calcu by dressing the salad with a simple homemade mayo made of whipped olive oil, a bit of egg, salt, pepper, and a few drops of Rose!”
Rose and farmers' market fresh salad make for a light dinner that pleases your palate AND your budget!
Vina Maquis Calcu Rose, Colchagua Valley, Chile
If you have a wine or a dish that you want to try (or if you just want to learn more about pairing), please let us know in the comments — we would love to help you out!