Loire Valley Wines Council presents the 6th edition of Spring to Loire, walk-around tastings of over 350 wines and seminars guided by experts of the region.
Spring to Loire Valley Wines Council presented the 6th edition of Spring to Loire in Chicago. There were walk-around tastings of over 350 wines and seminars guided by experts of the region. Spring To Loire is currently making stops in Houston, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York City. This not-to-be-missed event gathers the region’s leaders, including importers, distributors that make Loire Valley live and flourish in the United States. The Loire Valley is France’s most diverse wine region, producing exemplary wines in every style. Popularity of Loire Valley wines with sommeliers and wine writers has been growing steadily for the last ten years because for all their variety, Loire Valley wines share important characteristics that make them perfect for contemporary taste.
The Spring to Loire’s stop in Chicago on April 15th, 2019, was an elegant and fun affair which took place at the Atrium at the J. Parker, the rooftop, in the Hotel Lincoln (1816 N Clark). There was a wine tasting as well as various seminars offered that day. Besides the wine tasting above, my guest and I were invited for an exclusive experience called The Garden of France, where we enjoyed a 45 minute tasting combining floral arrangements and expert remarks by Chicago wine pro, Belinda Chang. We participated in a nose-taste pairing, which consisted of tasting incredibly fresh, fruity wines, while pairing them with aromas from different types of flowers. We were given a beautiful flower bouquet when we left the event.
Belinda Chang, the wine expert, was a joy, as she guided us through the various Loire Valley wines that we tasted. She was very knowledgeable about each wine, and the different regions and climates where the grapes were grown. We sampled a 2016 Sancerre pinot noir (Joseph Mellot, Le Rabault), a 2017 Menetau-Salon sauvignon blanc (Henry Pelle, Les Bornes), and a Cremont de Loirs sparkling white Chenin Blanc (Domaine Xavier and Agnes Amirault). My favorite was the pinot noir-fruity, bold, robust and spicy. The flavor lingered nicely on my tongue for quite a while. The focus of this particular tasting was on floral wines, where the tastes and aromas can remind you of honeysuckle, jasmine, rose, or even tulip. My guest and I loved this event as it was completely unique-we had never experienced a wine tasting with floral, aroma pairings. It was a whole new way to appreciate wine and flowers.
The other highlight during the wine floral tasting was floral expert, Kyle Hustedt from the Flowers for Dreams, a flower delivery service, which donates 25% of its net profit to local charities. His love of florals was infectious, and he was an amazing help when appreciating a flower’s aromas when paired with wine. When the tasting concluded, Kyle made everyone a personal bouquet complete with pink and white tulips, jasmine, honeysuckles, roses, and other lovely flowers.
The J. Parker rooftop wine tasting was where the other party was happening. Out of all the wines available for tasting, I personally gravitated towards the lovely, dry 2018 J. Mourat Chenin de Jardin white wine (label design complete with a cool dwarf in sunglasses). The Chenin is the Loire Valley’s iconic grape variety. It is also the region’s third most widely grown varietal, and expresses the richness of it’s Loire origin to the full.
Another special treat was that my guest and I were able to sample additional exquisite Loire Valley regional wines. There were also delicious bites offered such as charcuterie plates with sliced ham, fresh fruit, and vegetables with hummus and pita, crab cakes, slices of creamy and sharp cheeses and crackers, nuts, caprese skewers, grilled pineapple kabobs, avocado toast crostini, and lemon squares for dessert.
As a huge wine lover, I kept pondering how I had previously missed hearing about the Spring to Loire event, which is in its 6th year tour in the US. I had an amazing experience at this event, and do not plan to miss it in the future. If you are a fan of French wines or just need to learn about them, this is an event for you.
Photos: Jennifer Lunz
For more information on Spring to Loire 2019, please visit the website.