Loire Valley Red Meets Onion and Bacon Tart: When Old Becomes New #winePW

 

A New Wine for the New Year. That’s the challenge for our January Wine Pairing Weekend group of bloggers from David at Cooking Chat. What better way to celebrate the new year than with a new wine? How about with a new wine and food pairing? David’s January theme was perfectly timed for us as we recently discovered a delicious Loire Valley red wine that represents both a new variety and winery for us. And while the variety may be new to us, it has been planted in the Loire Valley for centuries. We tried a new recipe to pair with the wine and cooked up a delicious dinner for ourselves.

The Wine

Every glass of wine is an adventure, some more exciting than others. It is the search for that next great adventure that makes wine so much fun for me, and the fact that I never know when or where I will discover that next great wine adventure.

We attended a wine tasting at a local wine shop recently and came away with this delightful red wine from the Loire Valley. As the wine was poured into my glass I took note of its light ruby color. The aromas immediately drew me in. With that first sip came complex and unique flavors. This could be much more than a great wine adventure, perhaps the beginning of a love affair!

Pascal Janvier Coteaux du Loir2015 Pascal Janvier Coteaux du Loir Rouge “Cuvée du Rosier”translucent ruby-garnet in the glass. Generous aromas of ground pepper combine with cedar and red fruit. Tart red fruit flavors of pomegranates and dried cranberries combine with fresh-ground pepper and cedar notes. Tannins are very drying in this light-bodied wine and linger on the finish along with the flavors for a good long time. It is a juicy wine with great acidity. 12% abv. $20

This is truly one of the most complex and interesting wines I have tasted in some time. If you enjoy a lighter bodied red wine with complexity and nice tannin structure, this is a wine for you. It is just as delicious lightly chilled as it is at cellar temperature. I would reach for this red wine without hesitation on the warmest summer day. It is not possible for me to say how representative of the variety this wine is, but I can say that it is delicious. This ancient variety may be my new favorite thing.

The Pascal Janvier Coteaux du Loir Rouge “Cuvée du Rosier” is made from 100% Pineau d’Aunis (pronounced “Pee-no Doh-nee”) The origin of the variety is not known for certain, but the name pops up in historic accounts of the Middle Ages when the variety is said to have been a favorite of King Henry III of England. Pineau d’Aunis has been planted with the central Loire Valley region of Touraine since the early 1800s.

The variety is used in a number of appellations in Touraine and Anjou to make rosé, red wine and sparkling wines. According to Jancis Robinson, Julia Harding and Jose Vouillamoz in Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours, total plantings in France amounted to less than 1100 acres in 2009. They go on to describe Pineau d’Aunis as a mid-ripening, dark-skinned variety, producing irregular yields and wines that are generally pale in color but flavorful (referring to that peppery flavor I noted in this version of the variety.)

Loire Valley Appellation Map
Loire Valley Appellation map from loirevalleywine.com

Pascal Janvier is a small producer making wine from the central Loire Valley appellations of Jasnières and Coteaux du Loir north of Tours. Coteaux du Loir and Jasnières, along with the Coteaux du Vendômois appellation to the east, comprise a island of appellations along the Loir (without the e) River north of Tours.

According to Loire Valley Wines, Coteaux du Loir appellation wine production may include white (made from Chenin Blanc), red (using Pineau d’Aunis, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Gamay) and rosé (using Pineau d’Aunis, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Gamay, Grolleau – maximum 25%.) 50% of wine production is red, 30% white and 20% rosé.

The Food

Ease of preparation was our first goal for the meal to accompany our Pineau d’Aunis. Secondly, we wanted a recipe we hadn’t prepared before. We reached for one of our favorite cookbooks, Avec Eric by Eric Ripert, and found a recipe for an Onion Tart that I modified. Because I had mushrooms in the refrigerator I included them on the tart. I couldn’t resist adding bacon because, well, bacon makes everything better.

Onion, Bacon & Mushroom Tart

  • 3 strips bacon, diced
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 pound Cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten, to use as egg wash for the puff pastry

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450ºF.
  2. Sauté bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered. Remove bacon and all but 1 teaspoon of bacon fat. Reserve the extra bacon fat.
  3. Add sliced onion and thyme leaves. Sauté until tender and caramelized. Remove from pan.
  4. Add 1 teaspoon reserved bacon fat, chopped mushrooms and garlic. Sauté until tender.
  5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place puff pastry flat.
  6. Evenly spread onions, mushrooms, bacon and grated Gruyère cheese leaving 1/2 inch around the edges. Brush edges with egg wash.
  7. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden.

 

Onion and Bacon TartThe puff pastry made this tart a breeze to prepare and of course adds richness and flavor to the tart ingredients — the smokiness of the bacon, the earthy flavors of the mushrooms and the caramelized goodness of the onions. This recipe is a keeper. Alongside the Onion and Bacon Tart I served a green salad with tomatoes and avocado. The meal took less than an hour to prepare.

 

 

The Pairing

Pascal Janvier Coteaux du Loir and Onion TartVery good. The spiciness of the wine paired perfectly with the smoky, earthy richness of the tart and the juicy acidity of the wine was a perfect counterbalance to the richness of the tart. The only reason I’m not giving this pairing a delicious is that I was so taken with the flavors of the wine I wanted to concentrate on them. The flavors of the tart, which were delicious, distracted me from this very interesting wine. My solution? Eat the Onion and Bacon Tart first, then enjoy the the Pascal Janvier Coteaux du Loir Rouge “Cuvée du Rosier” on its own.

What a fun pairing. Thanks to David for the challenge this month. Read on to discover what pairings the rest of the Wine Pairing Weekend group put together.

You can join the conversation about new wine and food pairings to go with it! Our live #winePW Twitter Chat will take place this Saturday, January 14, at 11 a.m. Eastern Time. Just tune into the #winePW hashtag between 11 and noon ET that day. Check out past and upcoming Wine Pairing Weekend events here.

Cheers!

24 Comments

  1. Sounds like a wine I would enjoy Nancy. And your tart sounds like it would pair well with a Mondeuse I’ll be blogging about for this weekends #winophiles event. Cheers!

  2. How fun to find a new old grape from Loire. I will have to keep an eye out. Not holding my breath here in MIchigan LOL

  3. Loire wines are so various, so distinct. There is always something new to try from the region. This pairing is just about a close to a link to spring as you could find… just on the edge of warming, but fresh… both the wine and food. Cheers to you!

  4. I will probably make this recipe. I DO love a lighter bodied red with complexity and structure that can be served lightly chilled. I’ll be on the lookout of this grape.

  5. I like the tart recipe …I have never used puff pastry as a tart base but it sounds so easy and I agree would give a richer flavour to the tart and your wine choice sounds good to me 🙂

  6. The tart sounds amazing. Can’t say I know much about French wines, but always enjoy learning about them.

  7. How cool to discover a new wine and new grape in such a familiar wine region. I have never had it either. Now I want to!

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  12. sounds like a wonderful and interesting wine! I checked my notes and I have tried the varietal at some point, but clearly not as memorable a bottle as you tried.

  13. I can’t wait to track down this wine…and try your tart.

  14. Nancy, I can’t wait to track down this wine! I love just about everything from the Loire Valley, and I’m sure this one will not disappoint. And your strategy to eat the tart first so you can give full attention to the wine sounds just right!