Steak & Chinon

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This gluten-free dish is a perfect match for a beautiful Chinon from Domaine Philippe Alliet, one of the great red wine values from the Loire Valley.

The Food: Chile-Rubbed Steak with Creamed Corn

This super-easy recipe from The Food Network requires only about 10 minutes of prep time. The result is a delicious chile-rubbed flank or skirt steak that delivers a little kick. The creamed corn adds a little sweetness and great texture, but the dish still calls for the right wine to cut through the spice of the chile powder. 

The Wine: Domaine Philippe Alliet Chinon 2014

While the Loire Valley is most famous for dry Sauvignon Blanc, the Chinon AOC produces world-class reds made from Cabernet Franc.

This Loire Valley red is the perfect match for the spicy and creamy dish. The Loire is best-known for crisp, dry Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Many people are also familiar with Vouvray and Muscadet, whites made from Chenin Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne. It is lesser known that the Loire also produces excellent reds, and is in fact one of France's most diverse regions. While there are a handful of important red wine-producing areas here, it makes sense to first get familiar with Chinon and Sancerre Rouge, made from Cabernet Franc and Pinot Noir respectively. In the Chinon AOC, Cabernet Franc grows in steep vineyards planted in gravel and limestone soils. The wines are great values, and great with food. 

Philippe Alliet is one of the icons of the Loire Valley, and produces some of the region's greatest red wine values. He and his wife, Claude, have farmed in Cravant-les-Coteaux, in the heart of the Chinon AOC since 1985. The organic 2014 Chinon is an absolutely beautiful Cabernet Franc for under $20. The wine delivers explosive red currant and strawberry aromas. On the palate, there is such pure fruit and soft texture, with layers of red and black berries mingling with subtle crushed red pepper. When we first tasted this wine early in 2015, the beautiful fruit was closed underneath some notable barnyard aromas. The wine has opened up nicely, as I barely detected that here. The acidity cuts through the spice of the meat beautifully, and the fruit more than holds up to the bold flavors of the dish. As with all great pairings, the wine elevates the food, and the food complements the wine. Give it a try!