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!