The other night, I tried out a new recipe—for pasta with crab, hot peppers and garlic—that had been featured in Wine Spectator's Sips & Tips newsletter. Looking for a white to pair with it, I found a Vouvray that I'd purchased over a year ago. The Vouvray appellation in France’s Loire Valley produces excellent Chenin Blanc, ranging from steely dry to rich, lush dessert wines; this one is made in the demi-sec, or off-dry, style, which I thought would be perfect to offset the heat of the jalapeño in the dish.
Made by Cave de Producteurs de Vouvray, a cooperative of 38 vignerons that produces reasonably priced whites and sparklers, this white comes from a site called Rosnay, a plateau overlooking the Loire River, east of Tours. Its soft aromas and lightly sweet flavors of apples and Bartlett pears, which had a lovely purity, were accented by notes of honeysuckle and baking spices. Finishing clean and smooth, this white was excellent with the pasta, cooling the slow, subtle burn. An enjoyable 88 points, non-blind, and I expect if I’d drunk it sooner after release, the fruit would have been even more vibrant.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Cave de Producteurs de Vouvray Vouvray Demi-Sec Rosnay 2005 (91, $19).