Nectar of the Vine


Upon returning from an adventure, it is vitally important to replenish the body‘s energy. I discovered that my hunger was stronger than my desire to cook, so I decided to treat myself to my favorite restaurant.

Every time I go, I promise myself quite sternly that I will try something new on the menu and broaden my experience. Alas. I succumbed to my standard favorites: a melted to perfection Brie, arugula and grilled onion panino on a perfectly toasted ciabatta roll, a side of sweet potato fries dipped in a honey mustard sauce and a glass of wine.

I used to think that white wines were insignificant and not worth my attention because they couldn’t contain the robust depth that I loved in red. Gradually, my sensitivity to red wines and then oak tannins escalated to the point that for a while all wine consumption was suspended…much to my tongue’s complaint.

One fateful day, a friend introduced me to a South African Chenin blanc. The first sip slid over my tongue with the smoothness of lychee flesh and left flavors of honey, apricots, butter and a quick spice of ginger lingering to a gently subtle and gradual finish. While not a great imbiber of alcoholic beverages, I finished that bottle in one sitting…with absolutely no regrets. Since then, whenever a Chenin blanc is offered at a restaurant (which is rare), I unhesitatingly request it and have yet to be disappointed.

One of the reasons I love this restaurant so much is that it also hosts a lovely Chenin blanc; the Sauvion Vouvray from the Loire Valley, France. The color is a light honey hue with high clarity and medium viscosity. The bouquet is light and quite deceptive as the flavor is much deeper and more complex than the bouquet would lead you to believe. Today’s selection, the 2010, was a bit dry for my taste, but certainly not as dry as a Chardonnay. I think I would prefer to let it ripen in the bottle for a bit longer. However, the dryness softened with the pairing of the brie, the bitterness of the arugula and balanced the sweetness of the sweet potatoes perfectly. An excellent conclusion to a day of adventuring.

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