or, Pairing fish and other light meals with chilled-down reds
Earlier this week, warm and humid days built up my thirst for a nice light Loire red wine. From my wine rack, I found an Anjou Cabernet. I knew nothing about it except that it possessed the two keywords I was looking for: Loire and Rouge. I remember buying it on sale -- pretty much sight unseen -- for moments exactly like these when I would invariably want a fresh Cabernet Franc to sip alongside a light and summery meal like the air-poached filet of trout and boiled potatoes pictured above.
At the end of a hot day, a chilled aromatic red wine that is low in tannin is great at the dinnertable. It can be the perfect pairing. But my Domaine les Grandes Vignes L'Aubinaie 2003 packed a punch, and it was more than the aromatic wallop that a Loire red often delivers. This one certainly had some body and weight to it.
For sure, the sweltering 2003 vintage could've intensified the consistency of wine, giving it greater depth and brawn, and but this bottle was practically manhandling my demure trout filet. I was surprised that the Parmesan cheese, which I shaved sparingly into my salad because I thought its strong flavour would overpower the wine, ended up being the most natural match for what I was drinking. Why? Sure enough, upon closer inspection, the Cabernet variety listed on the back label was "Franc and/or Sauvignon". It was right there just above where it said "Serve lightly chilled" and then it became obvious.
Even though the recommended serving temperature was 12 to 14 degrees Celsius, this red was no light and merely perfumey expression. It was infused with Cabernet Sauvignon. Sometimes wine more lightweight than this needs chilling to be best appreciated. On this day I was glad to have something cool in my glass, even if the fullness of body didn't demand it. But in the end I think you could avoid the chilling for this wine. And next time I would pour it with steak.
Since I got the wine on a whim and likely will not have the chance to get more, there may not be a next time. It was such an interesting cuvée though, so I jotted down the following information from its many busy labels before I tossed it into the recycling:
- Domaine les Grandes Vignes is located in Layon in the Loire Valley
- The estate is family run by the Vaillant brothers: Laurence, Jean-François and Dominique
- The cuvée L'Aubinaie is certified as organic and earns the Terra Vitis designation
- Bottled at the Vaillant Estate "La Roche Aubry" Thouarcé, France. 13%.