I was at a recent luncheon and tasting of wines from the Alsace, Loire, and Languedoc organised by Sommelier Mireille Sauve and Sopexa Canada. The seminar focused on the misconceptions that many Vancouverites have on French wines i.e. expensive, confusing, and not understanding label and region as well as its food friendly nature. According to the BCLDB the French wine market amounts to 8.1% of the BC market share with the all inclusive catchall “Midi/Provence” region(s) making up a majority of wine sales.
The seminar looked at the reduction of the four tiered classification system to the new three tier with AoP “Appellation d'Origine Protégée” at the top of the pyramid followed by the IGP “Indication Geographique Protegée” and Vin de France.
Not a surprise to the trade attendees was the great value and food friendly nature of French wines from these regions. The wines were paired well and creatively with food from Siena restaurant.
Huet Vouvray Petillant Brut $34.90
Straw green with subtle toast, spice, pear, and mineral aromas. Medium-bodied, crisp acidity, rich mouthfeel with apple, pear, and undertones of minerals and toast.
Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose $29.99
Ormarine Picpoul de Pinet $13.99
Straw green/yellow. Aromas of grapefruit pitch and mineral. Medium-bodied with good balance of acidity and texture. Notes of glace fruits, pink grapefruit, apple, and orange, and mineral.
Chateau de la Roulerie Anjou 2010 $21.99
Yellow gold with honeyed nut and gunflint aromas. Medium to full-bodied with a unctuous texture, and flavours of citrus, apricot, and a hint of earth and wild flowers.
These wines were paired with a trio of bruschetta (cod brandade, white bean and sage, and mushroom truffle). The Anjou was the best match overal with its richness and slightly sweet flavour profile complementing the dishes.
Pfaffenheim Pinot Gris 2011 $18.99
Straw green /yellow colour with mineral notes. Medium-bodied, light honeyed and nut overtones with a hint of residual sugar giving it some mouthfeel and balanced by refreshing lemony acidity.
Henri Bourgeois Sancerre La Cotes des Monts Damnes 2010 $36.95
Straw green with a pungent aroma of gooseberry and guava. Medium-bodied, crisp, and refreshing with gooseberry, guava, blackcurrant leaf and hints of minerality. New world leaning with its intensity.
These wines were paired with the seafood risotto. The Sancerre surprisingly enhanced the fishiness of trout in the dish where as the rs in the Pinot Gris enhanced the fish flavours and body complemented the richness of the rice.
Yellow with light gold hints. Complex aromas of almond and mineral. Full-bodied, concentrated, and layered with nut, honey, mineral, red currant, and subtle petrol notes.
Gerard Bertrand Cotes de Roussillon Tautavel Hommage aux Vignerons 2007 $41.99
Opaque ruby purple. Complex aromas of hay, dark chocolate, and cedar resin. Full-bodied with chewy tannins, dark chocolate, pepper, plum, cedar, vanilla, and spice.
These wines were paired with a duck confit ravioli and duck sausage with shaved pecorino and brown butter. The winner by a long shot was the Pinot Gris. The red was too intense for the complex layered flavours of the dish. A caramelised mandarin and hint of nutmeg in the pasta was a superb match and bridge with the white wine.
Dessert was paired with a Banyuls and a couple of whites. I like "Like with Like" and the Banyuls was spot on with chocolate torte.
Overal a wonderful luncheon with great food and wine pairings and proof positive that the balance of fruit, texture, and structure of French wines make them ideal food candidates.
Siena restaurant is located at 1485 West 12th Avenue. Telephone: 605 588 1485