Welcome to Second Ferment! Wine pairs well with life ... and food, travel, people, work and play. Grab a glass and join me as I explore the wine scene in Ottawa, Canada, and beyond. Love hearing from my readers, so please leave a comment or drop me a line. Cheers! - Bethany

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Enough of the appellations, already!

So we moved on to the Loire valley tonight in class ... dear gawd, the French certainly can't do anything the EASY way, can they? I managed the complicated layout of Bordeaux and Burgundy, and somehow managed to wrap my head around the intricacies of the Rhone despite my weakened state last week. Now I've got the Loire, with its 60 to 80-odd appellations scattered on both sides of the river. WTF????

Determined to finish our class on schedule, we did the Contiki-style, whirlwind virtual tour. We rushed down France's longest waterway, breezing through the Upper Loire, through grapevines wrinkled by Noble Rot, and along the Sevre and Maine rivers, famous for their melon de bourgogne. I've lost track of how these guys decide who's got the good stuff and what's simply a vin de pays ... chateau? Terroir? How the winemaker stood on one leg when he stirred the lees in his chardonnay by the light of a waning moon? It's all starting to be a big blur to me ...

We tasted some pretty intense reds that tore the enamel off our teeth, and tried a 20-year-old chenin blanc generously donated by a fellow student, but I preferred L'Elegante AC Touraine 2006 Domaine de Pre Baron. This is a good example of a Loire sauvignon blanc, with lots of grapefruit and gravel on the nose, followed by refreshing acidity, and sweet apple and pear. Long, lingering, citrus finish; this would be great with fresh fish or scallops.

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