Wine & Food
Muscadet Sur Lie with shellfish is a classic combination. It is superb with raw oysters. It is wonderful with (and in) mussels à la marinière and mussel soup with saffron, and with simple grilled fish. Muscadet may have been the wine used in the original beurre blanc, a white butter sauce from Muscadet's native Pays Nantais.
Dry and off-dry Vouvray pair beautifully with the slight sweetness of scallops and lobster. Intense, pungent Savennières, is excellent with a wide range of fresh and smoked fish, as well as with white meats such as veal or sweatbreads. Chinon, Bourgueil, St Nicolas de Bourgueil and Saumur Champigny flatter any grilled or roasted meat. The richer wines are especially well suited to roast leg of lamb, and the lighter ones, slightly chilled, are ideal wines for a summer barbecue. They are also excellent wines for Thanksgiving dinner. The appellations of Anjou, Saumur and Touraine produce a wide variety of wines for everyday drinking. Whether red, white or rosé, there are few better wines to buy in quantity for everyday use.
The fragrant Sauvignon Blanc wines of Pouilly-Fumé, Sancerre, Quincy, Reuilly, Menetou-Salon and Touraine Sauvignon are natural partners for the goat cheeses for which the region is famous. These versatile wines are also excellent partners for shellfish and seafood in general. The Centre-Loire Loire is where the best lentils in France (Lentilles Vertes du Berry) are grown, and grilled salmon with lentils could be paired equally well with white or red from the region.
The Loire Valley's excellent sparkling wines are a good way to begin any meal, especially a buffet of cold, roasted meats. The rare, off-dry sparkling wines are prefect at brunch or with fresh strawberries.
Finally the great sweet wines of the Loire Valley are among the world's best. They are traditionally enjoyed alone, as an aperitif, or after a meal. But they are marvelous with foie gras appetizers and with Tarte Tatin, the famous apple tart created in the Loire Valley.