kelly magyarics

washington, d.c.-based wine, spirits & lifestyle writer / wine educator

703.203.9463

Loire Valley Wines and Summer Foods

I just got a useful postcard in the mail from the Loire Valley Wine Bureau, giving wine suggestions for popular summer foods. I've always been a huge fan of wines from the Loire. Unfortunately, they often stand in the shadows of their more popular sisters from Bordeaux and Burgundy, but LV wines have such a fresh quality to them--perfect for summer foods. They are usually more approachable much earlier one, too, which is great for someone like me who is all about instant gratification. Here are their suggestions, with some comments from me:

Oysters and Muscadet (**The mineral notes in the wine match those in the bivalves, and the refreshing bit of spritz is akin to squirting a lemon wedge on the shellfish)

Seared scallops and Sancerre, Anjou or Saumur Blanc (**All great matches, but my fave is the racy, crisp Sancerre.)

Lobster rolls or crab cakes and Vouvray (**What's great about this white winner is that styles range from dry to sweet, but even the sweeter styles retain acidity well. And as with Muscadet, there is a bit of spritz. An off-dry style will go well with the sweet lobster meat. If the variation in style is frustrating for you, ask someone helpful at your local wine store, find a producer or two you like, and stick with it.)

Burgers and grilled sausage and Chinon or Bourgueil (**I just love Chinon. It's bright and fresh, and a great example of a well-made Cabernet Franc-based wine.)

Barbecue and Rose d'Anjou or Cabernet d'Anjou (**Rose wines, with their strawberry or raspberry notes, nice acidity and bit of spice, are perfect for barbecued ribs or chicken. Roses are a great compromise between a white and a red, especially during summer.)

A party on the beach and Cremant de Loire or Saumur Brut (**I never turn down a sparkling wine, and the Loire makes some elegant ones. They can be a bit more difficult to find than other French bubblies, but they are definitely worth seeking out.)

For more info about Loire Valley wines, go to the bureau's website.