Organic wine & food matching: Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray and artisanal cheeses

Randy Caparoso is an award winning wine professional and journalist, living in Denver, Colorado. For a free subscription to Randy's Organic Wine Match of the Day, visit the Denver Wine Examiner.

Vouvray is like the girl with the Scarlett Johansson sweetness, Bette Davis wit, and knockdown Grace Kelly beauty that made all the boys in high school too dumbfounded to ever ask out (except for the dumb jocks, who’d never get a yes).

Vouvray is a thinking man and woman’s white wine because it takes brains to see through the flowery, intoxicatingly perfumed qualities of the Chenin Blanc (the required grape of this AOC), and look into the wine’s soul: the effortlessly acidic spine of the fruit grown in the Loire River Valley’s cold yet maritime moderated climate, and the deep, almost poetic substrata of flavor contributed by the soil (layers of flinty stone and clayish limestone over a plateau of solid limestone – the ultimate grape growing medium).

Earlier this month I ran into one California’s more intelligent, and artistically multiplisitc, winemakers named Larry Brooks (a founder of Acacia, former GM of Chalone, and now proprietor of Campion). I hadn’t seen Brooks in about six years, but the first thing he said to me was: “Everytime I see you, I can’t help but think of that incredible wine we shared, what, over fifteen years ago? I’ll never get that wine out of my mind.” Me, too. It was, in fact, a 1989 Vouvray Moelleux Cuvée CC by Champalou – a dessert style Vouvray exploding in a plethora of honey, scintillating acidity and minerality in spades– that will always bewitch both Brooks and me (and undoubtedly, is still doing that to wine drinkers today… I doubt that it would fade sometime soon).

Which brings us to our organic wine match of the day: the 2007 Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau Vouvray Sec Cuvée Silex (about $21; distributed by Andy Lum’s Unity Selections in Colorado). Sec refers to this Vouvray being “dry,” and Cuvée Silex refers to the flinty stones that make up a large part of the vineyard’s chalky soil, contributing a minerally, almost sea-briny nuance beneath the Vigneau-Cheveau’s honeyed apple aroma, wildflower fragrance, and mildly tart, lush, flowing, refreshingly balanced, medium bodied feel on the palate.

There is, in fact, a strong sense of terroir in the Cuvée Silex because this 69 acre vineyard has been cultivated more than organically, but also biodynamically for most of the past twenty years (receiving ECOCERT’S biodyvin certification in 1999); very much akin to the vivid, penetrating expressions of minerality and grape common to other biodynamic producers in France (some famous examples: Maison Chapoutier in the Rhône Valley, Domaine Ostertag and Marcel Deiss in Alsace, and Domaine Leflaive and Domaine Leroy in Burgundy).

Biodynamic viticulture demands turning vineyards into biodiverse farms, and applications of no less than nine specific herb and compost tea preparations in harmony with the natural rhythms of the earth, sun, moon, and seasons, observed as faithfully as the farmers who have followed the Old Farmers’ Almanac for over 200 years. But if there ever was ever any doubt about the efficacy of biodynamic growing, a simple comparison of Vigneau-Chevreau’s Vouvray with any number of other popular Vouvrays would put it to rest.

My culinary mantra has always been to fear no wine and food match: there is a perfect wine for any dish from any part of the world (I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a wine-unfriendly dish – only a lack of imagination and organoleptic openness), just as there is a delicious food match for every wine in the world. But with a wine as pure as Vigneau-Chevreau’s Cuvée Silex, I’d almost want to stick to an equally pristine, terroir expressive food match: like an artisanal, regional cheese. It needn’t be from the Loire Valley, although a Sainte-Maure de Touraine AOC goat milk cheese, coated in a slightly acidic, gunflint-gray ash, offers up an earthy purity of taste and zestiness in perfectly natural balance with this Vouvray’s earthy, crisp edged fruitiness.

Here in Colorado, I’d reach for a raw milk cheese like Windsor Dairy’s Melville; a cow’s milk cheese with a cider washed rind that positively bursts with fat, creamy flavors, with nuances of the native grass and wildflowers consumed by the Brown Swiss cows on this organic farm. Sprinkle a tiny bit of cumin on the Melville, with dabs of honey on the plate, and you’ll have wine and food match that doesn’t come down from heaven, but up from the earth so strongly expressive in both wine and cheese.

Otherwise, fresh, pearly white Chèvres like Colorado’s Haystack Mountain, Tennessee’s Bonnie Blue, Alabama’s Belle Chevre, and Georgia’s Sweetgrass Dairy (I guess you can tell that I’ve spent some time in the South in recent years) will all offer that combination of acidity and earthy, grassy fruitiness to effortlessly match this style of Vouvray. My only caveat: other than ash, steer gently away from logs crusted with pungent herbs or cracked peppercorn. You’ll want an unfettered taste of the terroir in the cheese; and generally, simple accompaniments like figs, champagne grapes, ribbons of dried apricot, or umami rich charcuterie like duck prosciutto and pork rillettes will do just fine.

Views: 16

Comment

You need to be a member of FohBoh to add comments!

Join FohBoh

Advertisments

 

DEPARTMENTS

Social Wine Club for Craft Wineries

Smartbrief

Fast-casual growth comes from new openings as market matures

Sales at fast-casual eateries are growing at a pace similar to that of quickservice and sit-down restaurants as young, high-i -More

Taylor® Grills. Cooking made Easier, Faster, and Smarter.
With efficiency and food safety top of mind, the Taylor® L810 two-sided grill is a foodservice industry favorite. Optimize profits and cooking efficiency with three separately controlled cooking zones, programmable cook times, pre-set temperature and automatic gap settings. To learn more click here.

In the swim: Gulf state seafood catch safe for now

Businesses fighting to preserve commercial access to seafood fished in the Gulf states scored a big win this month when the G -More

Ruby Tuesday revitalization prompts sales growth

Maryville, Tenn.-based Ruby Tuesday posted gains in same-store sales in the fourth quarter, with a 5% rise at franchised rest -More

JOBS & CAREERS

Posting a job or finding a job starts here at FohBoh. Call us about special $50 posting packages to syndicate across all major jobs boards.

National News

Main Event Entertainment to Open First Center in the Rio Grande Valley

Main Event Entertainment, the fastest-growing family entertainment center in America, is celebrating its new center opening in Pharr, Texas, a suburb near McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley. Doors will open to the public at 9 a.m. on August 6.

Darden Announces Leadership Succession Plan

Darden Restaurants, Inc. (NYSE: DRI) announced that Clarence Otis is stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. Darden's Board of Directors has appointed the Company's current Independent Lead Director, Charles A. Ledsinger, Jr., as Independent Non-Executive Chairman of the Board, effective immediately. The Company also announced that it has amended its corporate governance policies to provide for the separation of the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer roles.

National Restaurant Association Statement on NLRB Joint Employer Decision

Today the National Restaurant Association issued the following statement regarding the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) decision asserting McDonald’s Corporation is a joint employer of its franchisees:

National Restaurant Association Issues Support for Clearer ACA Definition of Seasonal Employment

The bipartisan legislation will align the definitions of seasonal employment in the Affordable Care Act and streamline the applicable large employer determination process.

Rising India, Inc. Announces Acquisition Strategy Toward a Sizable Slice of the QSR Pizza Pie

Rising India, Inc. (OTC: RSII), announces today it will immediately begin work toward the acquisition of up to 5 profitable stores in the popular Quick Serve Pizza Restaurant segment. Current targets are currently earning about $450,000 in revenues per year, per store. Acquisition of targets would provide immediate cash flow identified from profitable longstanding, absentee owner operations with proven model success.

CROWD FUNDING

If you are looking for capital to start or grow your restaurant, create the next 501c3, develop and launch the next app for the restaurant industry,or want to help your peers in some meaningful way, we want to know about it.

TED TALKS VIDEO

TED: Ze Frank: Are you human? - Ze Frank (2014)

Have you ever wondered: Am I a human being? Ze Frank suggests a series of simple questions that will determine this. Please relax and follow the prompts. Let's begin …

TED: Heather Barnett: What humans can learn from semi-intelligent slime - Heather Barnett (2014)

Inspired by biological design and self-organizing systems, artist Heather Barnett co-creates with physarum polycephalum, a eukaryotic microorganism that lives in cool, moist areas. What can people learn from the semi-intelligent slime mold? Watch this talk to find out.

TED: Shih Chieh Huang: Sculptures that’d be at home in the deep sea - Shih Chieh Huang (2014)

When he was young, artist Shih Chieh Huang loved taking toys apart and perusing the aisles of night markets in Taiwan for unexpected objects. Today, this TED Fellow creates madcap sculptures that seem to have a life of their own—with eyes that blink, tentacles that unfurl and parts that light up like bioluminescent sea creatures.

TED: Nikolai Begg: A tool to fix one of the most dangerous moments in surgery - Nikolai Begg (2013)

Surgeons are required every day to puncture human skin before procedures — with the risk of damaging what's on the other side. In a fascinating talk, find out how mechanical engineer Nikolai Begg is using physics to update an important medical device, called the trocar, and improve one of the most dangerous moments in many common surgeries.

© 2014   Created by FohBoh.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service