Both the Loire Valley and Bordeaux regions of France are famous for their rich red and sparkling white wines, but when you’re looking for a red wine to pair with an exotic meal or gamey meat dishes, only a handful of varietals make the cut. Here’s a close look at Loire Valley’s Sancerre Rose and the Chateau Larrivet-Haut-Brion from the Bordeaux region:
Loire Valley Wine Region
The Loire Valley is famous for its breathtaking landscape and rich architectural heritage with influences from the Renaissance, but is also famous for its varied selection of wines. The Central Vineyards of the Loire Valley include the famous Sancerre region, a primary producer of Sauvignon Blanc. Some of the communes in this region are authorized to produce only Sauvignon Blanc, and only Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir grapes are used in other regions.
Vincent Gralle is a notable Sancerre winemaker that owns approximately 3 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc vineyard on the slopes of Sancerre. The winemaker harvest all of the wine by hand from the end of September to the beginning of October, and the fermentation process involves vinification in oak barrels with the stirring of the lees every 15 days from September to December. Bottling takes place in March each year.
Wine Selection from the Loire Valley: The Sancerre Rose is a rich pinot noir that is pressed and vinified in vats. This wine can be served chilled.
Pairing: This wine is best paired with exotic and spicy dishes, barbecued meats and vegetables, and cooked pork meats.
Price: Bottles of Vincent Grall Sancerre Rose 2008 start at approximately $17.99 per bottle.
Bordeaux Wine Region
The region of Bordeaux has an ancient history that dates back to the late 16th century. However, historians date the origins of wine cultivation in this region to the age of the Romans. The first mention of winemaking from this region is referenced by the 4th Century poet Ausonius. The regions of Graves, and Bourges are among the most well-known of this region, and there are dozens of famous vineyards and estates that produce some of the world’s finest wines. According to WineAtlas.org, the region of Bordezus accounts for approximately 80% of total wine production.
In Graves, you might discover the vineyards of Pessac-Léognan, an estate located on a gravel ridge on the edges of the Bordeaux suburbs. The estate was owned by the Canolle family in the early 19th century and produced between 70 to 100 tonneaux of wine until portions of the vineyard were sold off. The plots on this vineyard are a mix of red and white wines, and today, produce the famous Chateau Larrive-Haut-Brion (Pessace-Léognan) wines.
Wine Selection from Bordeaux: The Chateau Larrivet-Haut-Brion (Pessace-Léognan) 2006 is a nutty, slightly fruity Bordeaux wine with a hint of tobacco. This red Bordeaux blend is a medium-bodied red with fine tannins. According to Wine Advocate, February 2009, this vintage should drink well for a decade.
Pairing: This rich, intense flavor of this Bordeaux wine make it easy to pair with duck, lamb, beef and gamey meat dishes.
Price: Chateau Larrivet-Haut-Brion (Pessace-Léognan) 2006 costs approximately $24.95 – $29.99 per bottle.