(Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)
In the Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc produces some fantastically alluring wines, among them Savennières from a small appellation in the Anjou region. I've always loved Château d'Epiré's crisp, minerally Savennières, but the 2009 "Cuvée Speciale" is something else again. Two things make it different from the regular cuvée. The vineyard's soil is black slate and, instead of the stainless steel owner-winemaker Luc Bizard uses for his regular Savennières, for this one he uses the traditional chestnut foudres, or casks.
The result is a wine with a rich and honeyed perfume and finely spun flavors of hazelnut, citrus and slate.
The wine is beautiful with gougères (cheese puffs), quiche, smoked or cured salmon, scallops and fish in sauce.
Region: Loire Valley, France
Price: About $20
Style: Rich and nuanced
What it goes with: Quiche, smoked salmon, scallops and fish in sauce
Where to find it: Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454, http://www.winex.com; and the Wine House in West Los Angeles, (310) 479-3731, http://www.winehouse.com