From: Loire, France
Varietal: Pinot Noir
Taste: Elegant Pinot Noir. Ruby color with a fine, fruit driven nose with notes of red berries. Highly recognizable as pinot noir with round mouthfeel and fruit finish with peppery note on the finish. We were over the moon to find this gem; it’s been what feels like forever since we could find a French Pinot Noir that retails under $20 with this amount of verve in the bottle. Even better, this wine lasts! We were tasting this over the course of three days to see how it would hold, and it was still delicious on day three.
Pairing: You know the saying, “when in Rome…” and that applies here for pairing ideas too! For example, two things that we can source or recreate (or at least come close) from the Loire Valley which would work fantastically with this wine are both truffles and a thing called “fouées.”
Truffle-growing is said to have started at the end of the 18th century, in the region of Loudun, south of Chinon. Nowadays, 700 hectares are planted with truffle-trees and dedicated to growing truffles in the region. Most of the production comes from the region of Chinon, south-west of Tours.
The most popular variety is the black truffle - tuber melanosporum, which is harvested from December to February. If you come and visit the Loire Valley in winter, you may have the opportunity to attend one of the markets dedicated to selling truffles in Marigny-Marmande (5 dates from December to February, near the beautiful town of Richelieu) or to the festival organised every year in Chinon.
This write-up is for me the opportunity to give you a recipe: black truffle butter. Grate 25g of fresh black truffle and rub it with 250g of good quality butter. Add some salt, to your taste. Make a roll and put it into cling film. Leave for 48 hours in the fridge, to let the butter soak up the aromas of the truffle. You can deep-freeze the butter to consume it when needed.
Now to fouées! These little warm breads are made with bread dough leftovers. The dough is flattened, then baked for a few minutes in a traditional fire bread oven - time for the dough to rise. Fouées are served warm, people to slice them and stuff them with rillettes, goat cheese, garlic butter...
Many troglodyte restaurants near Amboise, Tours, Saumur and Angers offer full meals based on fouées and a variety of stuffings.
I love them! The problem is that you can generally eat as many as you want in the restaurants mentioned above, and they are extremely addictive: when you start eating one, you want to try all the stuffings... !
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