One day this week we moved away from West Hollywood's Sunset Strip to learn more about Loire Valley wines, its geography, heritage and why it is called 'The Garden of France'.
Actually we were at Ivory on Sunset Restaurant, the upscale dining room at the Mondrian Hotel, to attend a combined seminar, tasting and a matching of Loire white wines with food selected by Master Chef Brian Malarkey.
The Loire River is France's longest, starting in the southeast and entering the Atlantic Ocean on the coast of Brittany. Along its banks there are fifty three appellations, each producing wines from famed varietals.
Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc favored for the white wines.
For the reds Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc Gamay and Pinot Noir.
Much of the fame of Loire is its sparkling wines which are the second largest producer following Champagne. It is also the second largest producer of AOC Rose wines.
As we moved through the luncheon there were five courses and two wines to taste with each pairing.
One of the first things we noted was how high the quality was on each wine and how moderate the prices.
The concept of combining a seminar, tasting and opportunity to match the wines with certain foods proved to be a memorable experience.
Ther Loire Valley Rose wines we tasted were all young, fresh in aroma and flavors and with relatively mild alcoholic content. Some offered a hint of sweetness which fits the American palate very well.
The food and service staff at Ivory on Sunset was outstanding and lived up to is reputation as being a truly upscale restaurant.