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