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TRAVEL
August 27, 2011
On a recent trip to France, we spent several days at Le Manoir St. Thomas in Amboise. The friendly staff and owners of the 12th century manor house made us feel at home, and it gave us a great base for exploring the Loire Valley. Le Manoir St. Thomas, 1, Mail St. Thomas, Amboise; http://www.manoir-saint-thomas.com . Rooms from about $208. Bob and Joan Faulkner Manhattan Beach
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FOOD
July 27, 2013
When I first tasted this lovely white from Steve Matthiasson with his wife, Jill Klein Matthiasson, I thought Loire Valley. But this, surprise, surprise, comes from Napa Valley. A vineyard consultant by day, Matthiasson is part of a new generation of winemakers who work their vineyards sustainably and are intent on making wines that don't taste like everybody else's. The Matthiasson white is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla, Sémillon and Tocai Friulano. How did he come up with that?
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FOOD
February 19, 1997 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
Sauvignon Blancs from the Sancerre appellation in France's upper Loire Valley are noted for their racy acidity, mineral character and a nose of fresh-cut grass and flint. Here's a lovely example at a good price, pale greenish gold in color, focused and full-flavored, with a nice snap of acidity and an appealing mineral note. Drink it with oysters and shellfish, with fresh goat cheese and strong blues, with boudin blanc and other sausages.
NEWS
May 17, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
Jill Bernheimer is the proprietor of the sweet little wine shop Domaine LA . After working many years in the film business for producers and then as an independent producer, she says laughingly, the film business drove her to drink. “Wine was always something I was passionate about, and in 2007 I started my shop as a website," she said, "and then in September 2009 I opened up the brick-and-mortar on the edge of Hollywood and Hancock Park.” The shop is known for its eclectic selection of wines, and she likes to say taht “the wines that we carry are honest wines made by people, not by corporations.” What's your favorite wine region to visit?
FOOD
September 27, 2000 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
Sancerre is France's capital of Sauvignon Blanc, and if you want to understand that grape, you should familiarize yourself with the wine of this Loire Valley village. Here, at a terrific price, is quite a pretty Sancerre by an up-and-coming new producer from a prized vineyard. Ripe and flowery on the nose, it invites drinking, yet its taste in the mouth is intriguingly taut and minerally. It also has quite a long finish for a wine at this price. Don't finish it too fast.
FOOD
July 29, 1998 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
To most wine collectors, the Loire Valley just isn't as sexy as Bordeaux or Napa Valley. That's fortunate for the rest of us, because it means the Loire's best wines are undervalued. This Vouvray sec (a dry Chenin Blanc, as opposed to the better-known sweet Vouvrays), from the single vineyard Le Mont, is certainly an excellent buy. It has beautiful balance, an impressive concentration of fruit and a tremendous finish. It's a stunning white wine by any standard.
TRAVEL
December 18, 1988 | DAVID SHAW, Times Staff Writer
Three years ago, during our annual gastronomic pilgrimage to France, my wife and I drove 60 miles out of our way one Saturday to have lunch in the dreary Loire Valley town of Chateauroux, about 160 miles south of Paris. It turned out to be one of the best meals of our lives--a seven-course extravaganza orchestrated in every detail by chef Jean Bardet.
FOOD
July 2, 1997 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
The tiny white wine appellation of Savennieres in the Loire Valley produces nervous, bone-dry Chenin Blancs that can age for decades. Domaine des Baumard produces one of the few that also drinks beautifully young. Scented with blossoms and chamomile, the 1995 has a finely woven texture and tastes intriguingly of minerals and salt. Drink it now with just about anything. And put away a few bottles to age.
FOOD
September 9, 1998 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
Montlouis, one of the undiscovered jewels of the Loire, is a tiny appellation just across the river from Vouvray. Domaine Deletang is the star of Montlouis, making Chenin Blancs of expressive power. The 1996 "Les Petits Boulay" is a luscious pale gold wine, dripping with honey and tasting of white peaches. It's called a sec, or dry wine, but in the Loire Valley, "dry" is a relative term; everything depends on the vintage. This one is like a ripe fruit, both sweet and marvelously tart.
FOOD
April 14, 1999 | S. IRENE VIRBILA
What an absolutely graceful, seductive Sancerre. Pale gold with glints of green, tasting of fresh-squeezed limes and bitter zest with lingering mineral overtones in the finish, this is a ripe, lush, refreshing wine. It's just about a perfect Sauvignon Blanc and will go beautifully with food. If you cannot find this wine, ask your local store to order it from the distributor, Neal Rosenthal/Select Vineyards, Shekomeko, N.Y., (800) 910-1990.
NEWS
February 11, 2013 | By S. Irene Virbila
After a Sunday morning hike in Solstice Canyon, a small group of friends and I ended up at a fellow hiker's Malibu house for lunch. While we nibbled on bruschetta topped with ricotta and roasted red peppers, Michalene got busy in the kitchen, steaming clams with garlic and white wine and boiling the pasta. The wonderful aromas swirled over the entire house. Normally, you might drink a crisp, dry Italian white with pasta with clams, but we tried opening a Mâcon-Villages  from Henri Perrusset in Burgundy (imported by Kermit Lynch)
FOOD
December 1, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
  In Bordeaux, Cabernet Franc plays second fiddle, adding a touch of spice to Cabernet Sauvignon blends. But in the Loire Valley, it shines on its own in Chinon and Bourgueil. Here's a lovely Chinon from Château de Coulaine, an estate that dates to 1300. Etienne de Bonnaventure farms his Chinon vineyards organically and vinifies his wines simply and naturally using indigenous yeasts. The wine is a rich ruby red, its intense dark berry flavor laced with Chinon's characteristic spice and pepper.
FOOD
June 23, 2012 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times
The 2011 Domaine de Reuilly Pinot Gris Rosé is an elegant summer-weight wine. Hooray for summer and rosé and this bargain Reuilly Pinot Gris from the eastern Loire Valley. This rosé made entirely from Pinot Gris is quite unique year after year, but in 2011 estate owner Denis Jamain made a particularly good example. The color of pale onion skin, it's aromatic but not overblown, crisp and minerally. It's an elegant summer-weight wine that I can't wait to open as an apéritif with a bowl of olives and toasted almonds, with an omelet aux fines herbes or mussels steamed in a splash of the wine with shallots and lots of black pepper.
FOOD
November 10, 2011 | By S. Irene Virbila, Los Angeles Times Restaurant Critic
The minute I tasted this terrific Pouilly Fumé from Régis Minet, I wanted oysters. Not just a half dozen but at least a couple dozen, chilled, naked and preferably Kumomotos. Minet's old-vine Sauvignon Blanc picks up a stony minerality and bracing acidity that would be perfect with most things from the raw bar. You can taste lime and grapefruit, too, in this intense, nervous white. It's also a fine value for a wine of this quality. Region: Loire Valley Price: From $18 to $23 Style: Lively What it goes with: Oysters and clams on the half shell, crab, seafood paella.
TRAVEL
August 27, 2011
On a recent trip to France, we spent several days at Le Manoir St. Thomas in Amboise. The friendly staff and owners of the 12th century manor house made us feel at home, and it gave us a great base for exploring the Loire Valley. Le Manoir St. Thomas, 1, Mail St. Thomas, Amboise; http://www.manoir-saint-thomas.com . Rooms from about $208. Bob and Joan Faulkner Manhattan Beach
HOME & GARDEN
May 18, 2011 | By Lauren Beale, Los Angeles Times
"Project Runway" host and executive producer Heidi Klum and her husband, singer-songwriter Seal, have listed their Beverly Hills Post Office-area estate at $6.9 million. Described as a "21st century Loire Valley chateau," the house sits behind gates on more than 4 acres. Features include a glass-enclosed wine vault in the dining room, a wood-paneled library and a master suite with dual bathrooms and walk-in closets and a sitting area with a two-sided fireplace. The more than 9,000 square feet of living space include six bedrooms and 91/2 bathrooms.
ENTERTAINMENT
December 5, 2010 | By Eric Pape, For the Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Paris Some things are just done differently in France. Take the invitation of 10 successful Hollywood screenwriters on an eye-popping, all-expenses paid, eight-day trip to rural France in exchange for, well, nothing. The guests were suspicious from the get-go. Why, after all, would anyone offer them a dream trip to two regions of France that they knew little, if anything, about? Still, the iPad-toting writers accepted a welcoming glass of wine or two and boarded a hot-air balloon outside of the eastern town of Metz in early autumn.
FOOD
November 4, 2010
  Domaine Huet Vouvray Pétillant Brut In the Loire Valley, Chenin Blanc is an incredibly versatile grape, producing dry whites and a whole range of semi-sweet to luscious sweet wines. Producers there also use it to make a sparkling wine. The nonvintage brut from Domaine Huet, one of the region's great Vouvray producers, is a wine that can take you through the holidays from a toast at the Thanksgiving table through Christmas and New Year's. And it's considerably less expensive than a Champagne of equivalent quality.
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