A bottle of Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut and a bottle of Le Roi des Pierres Sancerre Rose’ 2019

The creative group at Sopexa USA must have had this popular French pastime in mind when they came up with the idea of giving a some of us a taste of what The Loire Valley has to offer. But, we were in the concrete and asphalt-lined jungle of New York City after all, so they substituted the wineries for three restaurants/bars with pretty backyards, and opted for pedicabs instead of bicycles.

I’m a lifetime New Yorker who likes to bike. But with the temperature at 90 degrees and the humidity at 60 percent I was more than happy to be driven around on this occasion. Much gratitude to the folks at Sopexa USA for going the extra mile, so to speak.   

The folks at Sopexa USA and Sommelier Marquita Levy

We met up at Temperance Wine Bar (38-40 Carmine St, New York, NY 10014) and sampled a refreshingly crisp Langlois Chateau Cremant de Loire Brut NV. It’s 60% Chenin Blanc (Chenin Blanc is one of The Loire Valley’s principal white wine grapes), 20% Chardonnay, and 20% Cabernet Franc. It had an inviting acidity, pretty floral and fruit-driven aromas, and notes of lemon, green apple, and papaya, along with a touch of minerals. The versatile flavor profile makes it as equally adaptable to something as local as a Crottin de Chavignol or other AOC designated goat cheese from The Loire Valley, as to spicy Szechuan fish dishes.

A Le Roi des Pierres Sancerre Rose 2019 came next. It’s made from 100% Pinot Noir. There was a soft acidity to this wine, along with orange and cherry aromas. It gave off notes of red and dark berries, as well as minerals. Personally, I could have stayed there all day sipping on this sparkling, and this rose’ wine, but there were more stops to make.

We emerged from Temperance Wine Bar to find 9 pedicabs waiting outside to take us to Dirty French, the next stop on the schedule. I was glad to see both female and male pedicab drivers – it’s important you know – and randomly selected a pedicab, sat back, and prepared to enjoy the ride.

Pedicabbing it to Dirty French

My pedicab driver was an energetic man with positive vibes, who played custom made tunes, while we pedaled to our next destination. Nevertheless, when we were going uphill, I couldn’t help but feel guilty that he was doing all the work. He must have sensed this because he suddenly turned back and reassured me that he could switch on the pedal assist or the throttle on his electric bicycle whenever he wanted. That made me feel so much better! If you need ever need a ride around town and you don’t want to go the convention route (by subway, bus, or Lyft), grab a pedicab.

Two whites paired with bites at Dirty French

We pulled up in front of Dirty French in The Ludlow Hotel (180 Ludlow Street). I, for one, was thrilled to see that the outdoor garden was air conditioned. Looking around at my fellow writers it was obvious they were just as relieved.

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Domaine des Fines Caillottes Jean Pabiot et Fils, 2019 Pouilly Fume’ paired with oysters, and an hors ‘ d’oeuvre medley

Here, I tried a fantastic Domaine des Fines Caillottes Jean Pabiot et Fils, 2019 Pouilly Fume’ made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. Sauvignon Blanc is another important white grape in The Loire Valley. Sancerre, generally deemed to be among the world’s top Sauvignon Blanc, is produced in The Loire Valley. This Pouilly Fume’ gave off zesty aromas of lemon peel, and balanced notes of orchard and citrus fruit, as well as minerals.

A Domaine Vigneau-Chevreau, Cuvee Silex, Vouvray, 2019, followed the Pouilly Fume’. It was made with 100% Chenin Blanc (like almost all Vouvray). The fresh aromas of sweet spice, flowers, and citrus peel, and notes of lemon, green apple, and orange, were especially inviting on a hot day like this one.

Then we were off to our third and final venue L’Accolade (302 Bleecker Street). Two chilled red wines made with 100% Cabernet Franc were poured. Reds from The Loire Valley are usually served at lower temperatures than say, a Cabernet Sauvignon from California or a Sangiovese from Italy, to maintain the fresh and fruit-forward nature of this grape.

Two Cabernet Franc from The Loire Valley

The first of the two red wines, a Domaine des Sanzay Saumur-Champigny Les Poyeux, 2018, had a soft acidity, aromas of raspberries, violets, and fresh spices, and juicy notes of dark berries, along with subtle tannins.

A cheese and charcuterie plate to pair with the reds

The final wine of the tour, a full-bodied Domaine de Lallay, Lignee, Chinon, 2018, was structured and smooth, with lush aromas of plums, cherries, and earth, and concentrated notes of dark stone fruit, raspberries, and black pepper.

I capped off the afternoon with a glass of Marc Bredif Royal Oyster, Muscadet Sevre et Maine, 2016. It comes from the coastal region of Pays Nantais in The Loire Valley. It contains 100% Melon de Bourgogne. It was crisp and clean, with aromas of lemon, grapefruit, and chamomile, and lively notes of orchard fruit and minerals.

All in all, it was an informative and fun jaunt through The Loire Valley’s wine regions, via the West Village.

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