kelly magyarics

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

703.203.9463

The best of Loire Valley reds...in one bottle

I really enjoy Loire Valley wines...especially a crisp Sancerre, or a lovely, aromatic Chinon. Last night I opened up a bottle of Le Clos Delorme Valençay Rouge, which for $20 includes (in my opinion) the best of what the Loire has to offer in a red wine. It's produced in an appellation southeast of Touraine, (Valençay is in between Vouvray and Sancerre), and is a gorgeous blend of Gamay, Malbec (locally called Côt), Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. Each grape gives a bit of its own style—spice and tannin from the Malbec, bright fruit from the Gamay, a touch of earthiness from the Pinot Noir, and a whiff of floral aromatics from the Cab Franc. The result is a fragrant and immensely quaffable wine. (Don’t be afraid to slightly chill it, by the way, as you would a Gamay-based Beaujolais.) Valençay happens to be the only French AOC that produces both a cheese and a wine, and it’s no coincidence that enjoying them together is recommended (the cheese of the same name is a mold-ripened chevre, distincly identified by its pyramid shape covered by an ash mold.)