Sunday, October 04, 2015

Chinon: A Region Known for Joan of Arc and Really Good Wine





When I say Chinon, what do you think of? It makes me think of Joan of Arc and really good wine. I recently went to a five course wine lunch at Northern Bell in Willamsburg, Brooklyn to find out what Chinon wines are all about.


It is said that Chinon is home to Loire Valley’s most celebrated Cabernet Franc wines. Let's just say that this area is all about red wines, with a small amount of rose and even smaller amount of chenin blanc wine. A majority of the winemakers in the area are from generations of winemakers.


The special guests for the lunch were Master Sommelier, Pascaline Lepeltier and winemaker, Rodolphe Raffault of Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault. The pitmaster for Northern Bell, Dale Buchheister, came out to discuss his dishes. He has been trained in three different methods of making barbecue.


During the courses at the lunch, I learned a lot about winemakers from Chinon. More importantly, I found out that wines from the region are fabulous with barbecue, though they would pair well with any meat. Sometimes the wines are hard to find due to the wineries making a limited supply. When you find a wine from Chinon, it is worth selecting because it is a wine that was made with passion and exquisite winemaking. As for Northern Bell, if you are ever in Brooklyn, I recommend going to this hotspot. It is an experience your palate will thank you for!


First  Course:


Charred Iceberg Lettuce, Homemade Bourbon Beef Bacon, Crumbled Blue Cheese, Roasted Corn, Ranch dressing paired with Beatrice et Pascal Lambert, Domaine de Chesnaies, Rochette, 2013


This was a perfect pairing. The wine was nice and light on the taste buds which went wonderfully with the flavors in the salad. I loved the smell of the floral notes in the wine. This winery does biodynamie farming, a farming system that has harmony between the plant, its soil, and its environment.

Second Course:

Cherrywood Pit Smoked Wings paired with Domaine JM Raffault, Chinon Rosé 2014

Killer smoked wings and a Chinon rosé, makes for a very delicious pairing. The Domaine Jean-Maurice Raffault Winery has been cultivating vines in Chinon for 14 generations. This is something that you will find with many wineries in Chinon. I loved this rosé, so much that I keep a glass to try with all of the dishes. It’s 100% cabernet franc with aromas of  clementine and black pepper. The wine was awesome with the wings that are marinated with Northern Bell’s in house dry rub.

Third Course:

Homemade Biscuit, Poached Egg, Sage Pork Sausage with Country Gravy paired with Bernard Baudry Les Granges 2014; Philippe Alliet 2014 and Domaine Grosbois, Cuisine de ma Mere 2012

I liked all three of the reds during this course, if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Philippe Alliet 2014 or Bernard Baudry Les Granges 2014. With cabernet francs that taste this good, it is easy to see why the region is known for this wine. Deep, dark, and juicy is how I would describe this trio of reds. When it comes to taste is all depends on your mood.


Fourth Course:

Memphis Style Dry Rubbed Ribs Paired with Complices de Loire La Petite Timonerie 2011, Domaine de la Noblaie, Chiens 2010 and Couly Dutheil Clos de l’Echo 2009

This was another good selection of wines paired with some of the best ribs I’ve had in a long time. I was all about the Couly Dutheil Clos de l’Echo 2009, it was the standout in the three wines. Think blackberries, leather, tobacco and raspberries aromas. It pairs wonderfully with beef, pork, and anything in between.

Fifth Course:

Chocolate Bourbon croissant pudding paired with Sauvion Les Roches Cachees 2014, Chais St Laurent La Vigne en Veron 2013 and Marc Plouzeau Rive Gauche 2013

This dessert was crazy, which I mean in the best way. It was kind of like cake. I would have to say that the Chais St Laurent La Vigne en Veron 2013 was my favorite one out of the three. The wine has some berry and spicy notes going on which I love during this time of year.


Chinon is definitely a region that has many good wines. Sometimes the wines are hard to find due to the wineries making a limited supply of their wines. When you find a wine from Chinon, it is worth selecting because it is a wine that was made with passion and exquisite winemaking. as for Northern Bell, if you re ever in Brooklyn, I recommend going to this hotspot. It is an experience your palate will thank you for!

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