Wine of the Week: Extreme Value from the Loire Valley

Categories: Wine Time

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Photos by Tracie and Jeremy Parzen.
Little known appellations like this one -- Quincy AOC in the Loire Valley -- can deliver extreme value.
When people ask me about great value in wine today, I always point them to Spain, to Italy (and in particular, Southern Italy), and to the Loire Valley in France.

From AOCs that you've probably heard of -- like Sancerre in the east to Muscadet in the west -- the Loire Valley spans roughly 170 miles across the agricultural heart of France and includes scores of appellations that are easy to find in the wine shops of Paris but rarely seen here in the U.S.

I was thrilled when I found a bottling from one of these appellations, Quincy (pronounced kahn-SEE, named after the village in the Cher Department), at Spec's for less than $20.

The producer of this wine, Philippe Portier, grows only Sauvignon Blanc grapes (the only variety allowed by the appellation) and vinifies and raises them in temperature-controlled stainless-steel vats that allow the winemaker to deliver fresh, clean, bright white wine, with balanced alcohol.

And while you may not find the depth or nuance of Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé (communes where they famously grow Sauvignon Blanc, located not far up river, about an hour-long drive), wines like this can be wonderfully affordable and gloriously food-friendly at our weekday dinner table, where we tend to drink more white than red.

A wine like Portier's Quincy is exactly the type of delicious quaffer that you will find when you visit your favorite bistro in Paris -- well priced and ideal for a wide variety of foods, like tacos stuffed with grilled chicken that Tracie P had marinated in Jarritos Tamarindo (below).

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Here's a little wine trick that we often employ at our house to keep wine fresh over the course of a few days: Pull the cork on the wine and pour the desired amount of wine for your meal into a glass carafe (it doesn't need to be crystal); immediately re-cork the wine and put it back into the refrigerator. The short aeration time will keep the wine fresh for one or even two days (depending on how much acidity the wine has). It will work great with a wine like this Quincy.



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Spec's Warehouse

2410 Smith St., Houston, TX

Category: General

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3 comments
Roy Schneider
Roy Schneider

With the information age at hand, there is so much more access to fine wines in the budget categories. As with the Quincy, I find that if you look for wines from just outside the famous wine regions, or to the little brothers of the regions (Rosso di Montalcino instead of Brunello di Montalcino), you will find outstanding wines for a good value. Or just read Jeremy's Blogs LOL. Thanks for sharing these great wines!

Nicholas L. Hall
Nicholas L. Hall

Jeremy, I've become a bit of an unabashed beer lover since taking the helm of Brew Blog, but your posts (and the purchases that inevitably follow them) are swinging the pendulum back in the other direction. I love how you steer in both directions, toward simpler and more "user friendly" wines, and toward occasional nobility, pointing out the benefits of both. I think it's great to show how inexpensive wine doesn't have to be overly simplistic and predictable, and how subtle, nuanced bottles don't necessarily have to break the bank. I've also taken your mantra of acidity and low alcohol very much to heart, and am fully a convert to that philosophy. Keep it coming, man.

jparzen
jparzen

Nicholas, thanks so much for the kind words and for taking time to read. Even in Texas, where our access to great wine is limited (when compared to other states, like California, Oregon, Washington, and New York), there are more great wines available to average consumers (like you and me) than ever before. It's a great time to enjoy the ever-expanding "renaissance" of wine in our country. Thanks, so much, man... means the world to me... :)

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