Friday, February 11, 2011

France Day Three

Continuing our adventure in the Loire Valley we visited the region of Vouvray to tour the Troglodytes Caves and sample the wines of Domaine des Lauriers. We were joined by Thierry Delaunay, the owner of Domaine Delaunay in the Touraine region of the Loire, and Jean Thomas, owner of Domaine Thomas et fils from the Sancerre region.


Vouvray: Just north of the Loire River lies the region of Vouvray. The wines produced in this region are made with almost entirely Chenin Blanc (small amounts of the Arbois grape are allowed, though it is rarely used) and range in styles from dry to sweet, still to sparkling. Wine has been produced in this region for centuries, and legend has it that Saint Martin of Tours developed the viticulture there, and perhaps even introduced the Chenin Blanc grape to the region. The Vouvray AOC was designated in 1936.

(Lunch in the Troglodytes Caves)

Troglodytes: Caves dug into a hillside. Cave cellars offer the advantage of a temperature and humidity constant.

(Laurent Kraft)

Domaine des Lauriers: The Kraft family has owned the winery for 7 generations. Laurent Kraft, who practices sustainable agriculture, took over the estate in 1992. The vines are planted on the banks of the Loire River, and 90% of them are between 30 and 90 years of age.

(Thierry Delaunay)

Domaine Delaunay: Located on the bank of the Cher River, about 30 miles east of the city of Tours. It has belonged to the same family for 5 generations and is now run by Thierry Delaunay. Practicing sustainable agriculture, Domaine Delaunay is the perfect combination of modern technique and long-lived traditional winemaking.

(Jean Thomas)

Domaine Thomas et fils: The Thomas family has been making wine in the famous appellation of Sancerre for more than ten generations. Jean and Ginette Thomas are the current proprietors. Dedicated almost exclusively to Sauvignon Blanc, the Thomas family owns about 33 acres of vines which average 35 years of age. All of the grapes are hand-harvested.

(First Course)

First course: Crawfish over greens with grapefruit and orange in a raspberry vinaigrette paired with Domaine Thomas Sancerre “La Crele.” The crisp Sauvignon Blanc, with its bright lemon lime zest aromas and flavors, paired well with the rich shellfish and the acidity of the vinaigrette.

(Main Course)

Main course: Potatoes over braised beef in a mushroom sauce with Delaunay Touraine Rouge l’Antique des Cabotieres. The elegant dark cherry notes within the lighter bodied Touraine seemed to wake up the heavy comfort food, which on a 35 degree day was quite welcome.

(Cheese Course)

Cheese: Herb encrusted goat and Montbriac Rochebaron with Domaine des Lauriers Vouray Moelleux. The residual sugar of the wine tamed the sharpness of the blue while the lively acidity sliced through the creamy goat.


Dessert: Crème Brulee, chocolate macaroon, and fresh fruit accompanied by a fresh cup of coffee. A wonderful end to a delicious lunch.

Friday, January 28, 2011

France Day Two (pm)

France Day Two (pm)
For the evening the Robert Kacher team took it easy on us. We retired to our hotel for a night of Muscadet with the perfect pairing oysters, a traditional Loire buffet and to end the evening Calvados.

(Laurence and Gerard Vinet)

Domaine Vinet
Le Domaine Vinet was created in 1948 by Gustave Vinet. Today his two sons Daniel and Gérard, in assistance with Laurence Vinet, help to perpetuate his passion for the vine and wine. Located in the Loire Valley, near the Atlantic Ocean, they own and operate 60 acres of vines in the heart of the appellation Muscadet Sèvre et Maine, the best ripening area for the Muscadet grape (also known as Melon de Bourgogne).

Domaine de la Quilla: Muscadet de Sevre et Maine sur Lie 2009
Domaine de la Quilla is located in the village of La Haie-Fouassiere. Apparently this village is the origin of the famous wines of Muscadet. The Vinet's keep the wines "sur lie", or on the yeasts, for eight months before bottling. - Fragrant aromas and flavors of pear. 100% Muscadet.

Domaine Saint Martin: Muscadet de Sevre et Maine sur Lie 2009
Purchased by the Vinet's in 2000, Domaine Saint Martin is located in the commune of Chateau Thebaud, on the edge of the Maine river. Unusual for the Muscadet region, the Domaine covers 8 hectares on one lot. It was started in 1830 and documents show that a monk may be at the origin of the property. - Polished, with intense lemon lime zest followed by a clean finish. 100% Muscadet.

Clos de la Houssaie: Muscadet de Sevre er Maine sur Lie 2009
Clos de la Houssaie is a 1.7 acre vineyard located in the village of La Haye-Fouassiere and surrounded by a small stoned wall, which gives the grapes an ideal micro-climate to reach their peak maturity level. The Vinet's harvest and vinify these grapes separately from their other vineyards. - Mineral notes in the bouquet and palate. 100% Muscadet.

(Jerome Dupont)

Domaine Dupont Calvados
Located in the very heart of the Pays d’Auge in Normandy, the domaine is run by third generation Etienne Dupont since 1980, when he took over from his father Louis and his grand-father Jules. His son Jérôme joined the domaine in 2002. Over the years, Etienne improved the old orchards and planted a further ten hectares of small standard apple trees. Together there are 27 hectares of typical varieties, that is to say 9000 apple trees. Following the traditional methods of producing Calvados, the apples are hand-picked and rest in open wooden boxes called pallox to reach their highest aromatic peak. The juice is slowly extracted under low pressure and kept on its lees for 2 months to prevent any alteration of the cider’s flavor. The apple cider then undergoes a double distillation through a sophisticated Chalvignac copper still. The spirit is aged in 400 liter casks, made from Loire Valley oak, slightly toasted to provide vanilla aromas to the finished product.