For this match, we’ve chosen a wine that meets the rule of thumb when pairing wine with desserts: The wine must be sweeter than the dish.
While we’ve recommended wines from the dessert wine category in the past, for this wine pairing we’re recommending a white wine that has a lineage dating back at least 15 centuries.
Once again we’re off to France for our recommendation, this time focusing on the Loire Valley.
Within the well-known wine region is the Coteaux du Layon Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC). This AOC is situated in the Anjou district on the Layon river — a tributary of the Loire river. The best vineyards are found on the north bank of the Layon where they get maximum sun exposure on the south-facing slopes.
Chenin Blanc is the grape used to make the sweet white Coteaux du Layon wines. The wines achieve their sweet status because the grapes are kept on the vine longer, allowing them to be affected by noble rot.
Noble rot is not as bad as it sounds. It sucks the moisture out of grapes, leaving a higher concentration of sugar, which results in a more concentrated wine. But noble rot doesn’t always happen, so winemakers use other tactics to achieve the sweetness by allowing the grapes to become very ripe or sun-dried on the vine.
The combination of sweetness and the high acidity of Chenin Blanc, especially when grown in a relatively cool region such as the Loire, allows the Coteaux du Layon wines to be long-lived — some can even withstand several decades of aging.
These wines are never dry, but the sweetness can vary depending on how the grapes are maintained.
With a Coteaux du Layon in your glass, the aromas and flavors of honey, dried apricots, nuts, fig and hopefully, botrytis (noble rot) will compliment Ann Vogel’s Peach Cobbler or her Gingery Rhubarb Crisp with Ginger, whichever you choose to make.