Tue 8 Dec 2009
About as much white wine is made in Chinon, in France’s Loire Valley, as red wine is made in Burgundy’s Puligny-Montrachet. Really damned little! Chinon, part of the Touraine region smack in the middle of the Loire, is largely cabernet franc country. No bistro in Paris would be without Chinon on its wine list; I wish we saw more examples of this quintessential restaurant wine in America. A little rose is made in Chinon and a smaller proportion, about two percent of the production, is white wine made from chenin blanc grapes.
Thus, the shimmering pale Les Chanteaux 2008, from Couly-Dutheil, was a revelation. LL had seared a fine filet of swordfish, just enough to give it slight char on the exterior and leave the interior moist, flavorful and almost rare at the center. She paired that with a piece of salmon that she had cooked a few days before, that fish having marinated in a black pepper-jalapeno sauce brought home from a Vietnamese restaurant. The combination, a sort of surf ‘n’ surf deal, was striking; the salmon, served cold, was dense, packed with spicy heat; the swordfish was lush and succulent. Also on the plate were rice and buttery, garlicky kale.
Les Chanteaux 2008 opened with a burst of camillia and honeysuckle, pear and quince, tangerine and exotic spice. As if this panoply of delights were not enough, the wine is bright and lively, with a tone of some piquancy wrapped around notes of white pepper and lychee, baked apple and in the limestone-laced finish, a hint of some shy, astringent meadow flower. Les Chateaux sees no oak, but rests on the lees in tank to pick up some nuance. Immensely appealing, and it tied together the elements of our meal very nicely. Very Good+ and definitely Worth a Search. I paid $25 for this bottle, which is the median price around the country.
Imported by Frank-Lin International, San Jose, Cal.