Food and Wine Pairings: Vouvray from the Loire Valley
We’ve talked about Vouvray wine before on the The International Kitchen blog — after all, it is easily the most popular wine from the Loire Valley — but what’s the best food to pair with this white wine made with Chenin blanc grapes? Before that question is answered, you first have to figure out what kind of Vouvray you’re drinking.
That’s not always an easy thing to do either. For one, Vouvray wine comes in just about any variety you can think of: from dry (sec) and off dry (tendre) to semi-sweet (demi sec) and sweet (moelleux). There’s also the sparkling (crémant or pétillant) wine too. One reason for the variations is the climate in the Loire Valley. In cooler years, dry and sparkling are more prolific, while warmer weather favors sweeter vintages that tend to pair well with desserts.
Matters are made more difficult because, prior to the 2000, many Vouvray wine labels didn’t specify what kind of wine was in the bottle. The only exception to this, it seems, is the dry Vouvrays; winemakers are legally obligated to label them with the term “sec,” if they have minimal residual sugars, as in less than eight grams.
So how do you know what you’re going to get with you open that bottle of wine? If you’re not familiar with the particular wine, ask who you’re buying from. Any good wine shop should have an idea about the kind of wine you’re drinking. And then you can start thinking about what to pair that wine with.
Fortunately, all Vouvrays are incredibly food friendly, and many go well with a wide range of rich and hearty dishes. More specifically, for sparkling wine, splurge on charcuterie or sushi. For dry Vouvray, think more along the lines of lighter fare, like salads, vegetables, white fish, and soufflé. The dry wines, as well as the off dry wines, also pair incredibly well with another delicacy from the Loire Valley: goat cheese.
Other foods to pair with off dry Vouvrays include everything from roast pork loin and pork belly to lobster and crab. As for the demi-sec wines, think more along the lines of the flavors you find in Asian food. And last, but certainly not least, sweet wines go perfectly with foie gras, tarte tatin, and other baked desserts. In other words? No matter what you’re eating, there’s a Vouvray wine for you.
Learn more about this versatile and delicious wine with a tour to France’s Loire Valley.
By Liz Hall
Sign up to receive our newsletter, which includes travel tips, recipes, promotions, and information on our best food and wine tours.