Monday, November 28, 2011

Wine Review: White Loire Valley

(I haven't forgotten about you, Internet peoples! I'm sorry!)

So, after lingering in Bordeaux for a very long time, we're finally moving on to another region-- the Loire Valley. Home of castles, cathedrals and the French accent reputed to be "the most perfect" in the country, Loire also offers up some spectacular wine. At the moment, the first one we're trying is a white Sancerre.

The Wine

Pierre Chanau Blanc 2009

Origin: Loire Valley

AOC: Sancerre

ABV: 12.5%

Varietals: 100% Sauvignon Blanc

Serve: at cool room temperature, with shellfish or fish

The Food

Chicken Piccata, although I made a decent number of changes to this recipe. Firstly, French chicken breats are thin enough there cooked after five minutes on each side, so I just set them to one side, covered with aluminum foil, while I made the sauce. I might do that even with thicker chicken breasts; I'm afraid leaving the breasts in with the sauce will make them lose the slight crunch that the flour coating has.

Secondly, I added capers and garlic to the sauce. I love garlic and chicken piccata just isn't chicken piccata without capers. I left out the mushrooms this time, though I could have easily put them (or artichoke hearts) in.

The Verdict
The Sancerre was excellent, though I admit this may partially come from the fact that I adore Sauvignon Blanc in general. However, the Sancerre didn't have the creaminess you get from a New World Sauvignon Blanc such as Cupcake Winery's. Instead, there was a surprisingly mineral refreshment, accompanied by some citrus-- lemon, green apple and grapefruit as well as some floral notes.

However, it wasn't quite as spectaculer as the Sancerre I drank at L'Assiette, but that might be for two reasons. Sancerre is not a popular white in the Southwest, so there isn't a great selection. There was literally only one Sancerre in the entire section (which takes up two complete aisles in Auchan). Also, Sancerre's expensive, so any award-winning wine was beyond my self-imposed budget of ten euros a bottle.

Ultimately, the mineral quality of the Sancerre worked well with the piccata. It gave the wine the structure to stand up to the acidity of the dish and to cut through the creaminess. A excellent wine, but with a small price concern. Not going to stop me from buying another bottle though!

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