Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Breakfast Wine for WBW 53

It’s been a while since I’ve jumped into the Wine Blogging Wednesday pool. But given that this month’s host, El Jefe at El Bloggo Torcido has, in his own typically twisted way, made things both fun and challenging, I figured it was high time rejoin the fray. El Jefe (or Jeff Stai, if you prefer – he’s the owner of Twisted Oak Winery in Calaveras County, California) has asked participants to write up their favorite breakfast wine. No problem, right?

When I show Moscato d’Asti at wine tastings, I often describe it as the perfect breakfast wine. It’s always good for a laugh and it’s also true. A good example of Moscato represents some of the best fruit juice you’re ever likely to drink. It’s low in alcohol and has enough residual sugar to pair with a wide variety of breakfast sweets, from pastries to pancakes to French toast.

I’d actually rather drink Champagne, but that’s harder to explain to that percentage of the population that for some reason believes there’s something wrong with having wine before 5PM. There’s nothing, though, quite like a good glass of Champers with an omelette aux fines herbes or with a simple plate of bacon and eggs for that matter.

The challenge is that El Jefe has forbidden us from drinking anything with bubbles or anything that’s at all sweet. And wine cocktails such as the ubiquitous Mimosa? Forget about it. Dry red or dry white wine is the rule of the day. So, with that in mind, I think back to my last couple of wine junkets to Europe and, in particular, to the wine villages of the middle Loire.

Chinon, Domaine des Rouet 2005
$14. 12.5% alcohol. Diam. Kysela Père et Fils, Winchester, VA.
I’m cheating a bit here, as I drank this Chinon over the course of the last two days with dinner rather than breakfast. I doubt whether the main component of those dinners – pumpkin lentil soup with sautéed mushrooms – would fit into many people’s definition of breakfast food. However, on both nights, I also enjoyed a couple of slices of crusty bread and a generous portion of Loire Valley goat cheese – Selles sur Cher, to be exact.

If you’re in a budget hotel, like the one in Montlouis where our group stayed a few years back, breakfast may be nothing more than a stale baguette, butter, jam and a cup of weak coffee. If you have an early morning appointment at a nearby winery, on the other hand, you’re much more likely to be greeted with a plate of dried sausages or cured meats, a little bread and a wedge of the local goat’s milk cheese. It’ll sate your belly and stand you in good stead for a day spent in cold cellars and – if you’re there in February as I was – frosty vineyards. If you happen to be in the town of Chinon, the cheese on your plate would probably be St. Maure de Touraine but that’s splitting hairs….

The Chinon from Domaine des Rouet is simple and unassuming. In fact it’s actually not perfectly balanced nor all that memorable. Lean and a little ungiving on its own, it does perk up in the presence of food, its slightly herbaceous and tart red fruit opening up to reveal a riper core of redcurrants when matched with the Selles sur Cher. It’s what some might call a bistro wine – straightforward and direct, with little personality of its own but quite flexible at the table. At 12.5% alcohol, it’s relatively low alcohol so not too, too strong for early going. Besides, I don’t want anything deep, dark, profound or powerful first thing in the morning. Just something to kick my taste buds and palate into gear for the rest of the day.


Do Bianchi said...

St. John restaurant in London does an amazing RD Bollinger breakfast... I've always wanted to go...

Great call on the Moscato... In Italy it's considered the only wine to pair with fresh fruit...

bill l said...

i'll hav eto check my elizabeth david books.
i remember a passage where her and a friend unapologeticly down a bottle of something with their breakfast while visiting france. i think it may have been loire valley sav blanc.
glad to see you are enjoying the selle sur cher.

David McDuff said...

I haven't been to London in over 20 years, Jeremy. Sounds like a good enough reason for a trip.... I'm with the Italians on Moscato. I also consider it the only wine that actually pairs well with fresh fruit, especially if there's a little zabaglione in the picture.

Let me know if you find the passage, Bill. Chinon, Cheverny, Champagne.... They'd all work for me.

Anonymous said...

Now that the challenge is over, I think I'll go out and buy a bottle of Moscato for breakfast.

David McDuff said...

Sounds like a good plan, Ribbie. Thanks for stopping by.

Jim said...

Hey man. Definitely dug your choice on this one. I've had a few from the Chinon, but I'm not as well versed as I'd like being the cab franc fan that I am (it's hard to find in Ohio).

If you're ever in Cleveland, you'll definitely have to give the biscuits at Lucky's a try, and if you're ever in New Mexico, I can point out some wineries worth visiting. :-)

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