The Loire Valley is a BIG place, and considered as a viticultural unit, it might be the biggest in the world. That said, there are of course dozens of named A.O.C.s along the hundreds of miles of vineyards that line the eponymously named river. Toward the western end of this meandering valley stands the venerable Anjou.
Anjou has been known for the production of fine wine (mostly whites) since the Middle Ages, though reds based on the two Cabernets have been made here for centuries as well. In the 1500s-1600s, the sweet-toothed Dutch commerically dominated Anjou’s wine trade, and consequently developed the pattern for today’s world-class sweet wines, based mostly on the Chenin Blanc grape.
This evening’s wine was decidedly very dry, make no mistake. But like many of those great sweet whites, it is made from predominately Chenin Blanc (with a few splashes of Sauvignon Blanc), and also like many of those dessert wines, it is thick, muscular, with a stiff right cross of alcohol (this one reaches 14%), and a sharp, sinuous acidity that make it a fair match for all kings of big, strong foods – cheeses, fatty fish, eggs – even game birds (especially pheasant)…
But since it was just a regular tuesday, no kind of pheasant was on the menu. What was on the menu was a chilled rice salad with tuna, capers, grated carrots, celery, scallions, hard-boiled eggs, parsely, mayo, lemon, olive oil, etc. and big tomato, red pepper, cheese, and thyme omelet served with some sliced and toasted French bread.
Chateau Soucherie Anjou Blanc Cuvee` Les Rangs de Long 2010
Greenish, true golden color. Heady, and “sunny” nose of crystallized ginger, quince, aromatic floral notes, caramel, toasted anise seed, pretzel crust, wet stones, and pine needles. The palate is big and viscous but with a pervasive, piercing grapefruit acidity, and muscular and dense flavors of honey, hazelnut, orange blossom water, pear nectar, and flint. Big and warm lime and horchata finish.