France, wine

A Loire Chateau Lunch

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I would have been content just to stroll through the gate at Chateau l’Oiseliniere, gaze at this stately, elegant, iconic home, and turn around and head directly back to the van. It was, however, an embarrassment of riches as I as able to tour the surrounding vineyards, sample a variety of delicious Muscadets, and have one of the most charming home-cooked lunches imaginable. If I didn’t have the photos to corroborate the previous two sentences, I might have though it was all a reverie brought on by my penchant for 19th Century French literature. So rather than gauzy, filtered memories, I have some sharp images to share.

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Above is proprietor Georges Verdier showing us that flowering has begun on the Melon de Bourgogne vines, which means that harvest should begin in about 90 days. Our lesson in grape growing over, it was time to sample the fruits of his labor. We found out that Muscadet is not only popular with those of us who love crisp, dry, refreshing white wines, but also (strangely enough) with felines:

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Our appetites primed by a dizzying array of bracing, memorable Muscadets, we went into the dining room to find a black olive, spinach, and onion tart with a whole wheat crust. This was no quiche; it had just enough binder to keep it together. I thought this would be more of a dish for a rosé, but the briny black olives brought out the salty, mineral-tinged aspect of the Muscadet. Brilliant.

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Next it was time for some white asparagus. I found myself counting my blessings for being in the Loire in time for both strawberry and asparagus season. We enjoyed a white asparagus custard surrounded by a green pea puree. Whoever says asparagus is difficult to pair with wine needs to try it with a richer-style, vegetable-loving Muscadet.

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We finished with langoustines atop a simple salad of garden-fresh vegetables. This seemed to be the penultimate dish to have with Muscadet, which is simply one of the finest wines to have with seafood, period.

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Here is the ubiquitous “I was there” photo that I include not out of vanity but to illustrate I have pen and paper by my side, dutifully taking notes. And although you can’t see it, I have actually glued myself to the chair I am sitting in, as I thought this was the most rational plan to make sure I never had to leave. Please forward my mail care of Chateau l’Oiseliniere.

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Full disclosure: I am a sponsored guest of the Loire Valley Wine Bureau on this trip.

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11 thoughts on “A Loire Chateau Lunch

  1. carolyn says:

    Wow! I wish I were you with all your travels! I love the picture of the cat on the table with a wine. That is a frame worthy picture.

  2. Rochelle says:

    Ca c’est tres bon!!! Where can I sign up for the next French or Italian foodista excursion? I’ll carry your bags even!

  3. ibidibid says:

    Have always thought Muscadet extremely versatile and an exciting match with seafood. But with olives, asparagus? OK, a must try. [Slick move- photo of unslick notepad plate-side. 🙂 ]

    • Yeah it was great with asparagus. The olives was a real surprise but I think the sweet onions balanced them out a bit. (Next time I’ll photo-shop out the notepad, but my work is never done!) Thank you for reading and commenting!

  4. lunamuna says:

    I confirm, Mrs Verdier is a Cordon Bleu! I also tasted some of her dishes that sounds not elaborated to her, but perfect enough for my stomach.
    I encourage people to test some new food pairing with Muscadet instead of the typical seafood, especially with one of the Cuvées from this marvelous historical vineyard!!
    Cheers!

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