What a difference a few days make.
When Doug Frost wrote his posting on Sept. 21, I was still swilling rose at a rapid clip. But now it is officially autumn and I agree with Doug that a Sancerre or Pouilly Fume, with its more luxurious mouth feel, is looking pretty good.
So I started thinking about the wines of this, my favorite season of the year. More weight, more body, more spice, just more. I am ready to kiss my beloved rose farewell for a few months. I am ready for wines with more.
I wanted to talk about wines that were available in Kansas City so I took a trip to Gomer’s at 39th Street and Broadway. Here’s what I found for white wines:
Because I’m always pairing wine and food, at least in my mind, I’m not too partial to Chardonnay, especially the California style, with its butter and oak. Good to enjoy, not so good to pair with food. But fall is Chardonnay time. White Burgundies are excellent food wines and California has toned down their oak bombs.
Franciscan Winery might be the first vineyard I ever visited in Napa Valley. Located in the flatland of Oakville just outside St. Helena, their Chardonnay is aged in oak but still retains some mineral notes. And there is that Napa Valley Meyer lemon taste and smell going on. If you feel like spending more, their Cuvee Sauvage is the first Napa Chard made from wild yeasts and is suitably exotic.
I encourage you to try a different style Chardonnay from the Central Coast region, such as Ojai Vineyards. Oh, it’s still California but more balance, less clout. More stony taste, more refined, more in the French Chablis style.
Speaking of France, please don’t die without having enjoyed, at least once in your life, a bottle of Puligny-Montrachet.
It’s a thousand years ago. You’re growing grapes and making wine in the area north of Venice, an area now known as Friuli-Venezia-Giula. Venice is the trading center of the world. You live where the Spice Route brings all the treasures of the mysterious East. You buy and trade grape plants. A great white wine is born.
And because it is her native section of Italy, Lidia Bastianich and her son Joe bought a winery there. As you would imagine coming from Lidia, this is a food wine.
Pinot Gris is another food wine. Pinot Grigio (Italy and California) and Pinot Gris (Alsace and Oregon) and Pinot Blanc, for that matter, are all mutations of the Pinot Noir gene pool. The Alsace variety is full of floral aroma and spice. Rich with possibilities. The Oregon variety is more ladylike, pears and apples, ready and willing to please.
The first time I tasted Condrieu, actually the first time I smelled Condrieu, I was knocked out. The aroma was full of dried apricots, with pears and flowers mixed in. Wow. The taste delivered the goods the aroma promised. I had never tasted the Viognier grape varietal before. I was a goner.
It matters not if you start as I did with a bottle from the Condrieu section of the Rhone, or one from Washington State, where the Maison Bleue is grown and bottled, or one of the fine Viogniers from California. You are in for a treat. And your nose will thank you.
Coming soon: The Reds