Hooray for Vouvray!

Yes…I stole that from Jane Nickles, the Director of Education and Certification of The Society of Wine Educators. But, it couldn’t be more true. Vouvray, made from the grape varietal, Chenin Blanc, is a classic. Chenin Blanc is a phenomenal shape shifter when it comes to wine making. Jancis Robinson, the Undisputed Queen of the Grape, describes Chenin Blanc thusly, “Chenin Blanc is a magical chameleon of a grape, although remarkably few of the thousands of growers who harvest it each year even realize that magic is there”. Chenin Blanc thrives in the Loire Valley, specifically the Anjou-Touraine area, quite possibly the best growing region for this varietal, With that being said, don’t discount the Chenin Blancs grown and produced in South Africa where this grape makes up close to 20% of all plantings in the country.

Now, lets talk about this particular bottle; Champalou Vouvray imported by Kermit Lynch. The wine is remarkable. Extremely food friendly with a pear and mineral nose, backed with a grassy hint in the end. It has a pleasantly crashing acidity, fresh lively lemon flavors and hints of minerality that balance this wine perfectly. Quite honestly, I think this sexy ass wine could turn me into a day drinker if I’m not careful. This latest heat wave here in mid-September has me looking for ways to cool off and try to ignore it, and this temptress Chenin is fitting the bill nicely. When Janis notes this varietal, Chenin Blanc, is a chameleon she means it. This particular producer, Champalou, turns their juice into 6 different wines, ranging in sweetness levels and even making a fantastic sparkling wine from it.

So again, as I have mentioned in my previous posts, step out there and try something new. Chenin Blanc is definitely your friend.  Have a very Happy Wine Wednesday!

Bubbles a la España

So…..a few weeks ago I was fortunate enough to get invited to a Spanish wine tasting. I had the day off; I pondered the invite for about 3 milliseconds and replied, “Hell yes!” Spanish wines, over lunch…duh. My lunch was hosted by some of my favorite people in the wine biz here, Jesse Fincannon, @fitchio  and Catherine Doyle @catherine_anni, of Thirst Wine Merchants @thirstwine. Quality people. Quality company and QUALITY portfolio. The wines were supplied by The Well Oiled Wine Company. Lunch was provided by Smoke on Cherry Street @smokeoncherryst. Seriously…. Need I say more? Between the locale and the folks involved in this soirée, I can’t imagine a better set and setting for lunch.

The first item on the tasting block was this delicious Cava. Fermented the traditional way, Méthode Champenoise, actually meaning “in this bottle”, this little beauty had amazing toastiness from the time spent on the lees, or the yeast cells causing the original fermentation to begin with. Time on the lees creates a toasty, bready aroma that really separates quality bubbles from the rest of the pack. It also creates a phenomenal mouth-feel, adding a hint of creaminess to the bright acidity inherent in quality sparkling wines. The acidity in sparkling wines is attributed to the grapes that are harvested and crushed before the sugars really have a chance to develop, in essence picking them before the grape reaches full maturity and sugar acid balance. The grapes in this particular Cava are as follows, 35% Parellada, 35% Xarello and 30% Macebeo. Most people outside the wine industry have never heard of these particular grapes, but they are indigenous to Spain and are the most popular for their sparkling wines. 

I loved this wine. Toasty and bready aromas with a creamy mouthfeel, complimented by the bright acidity and crisp finish, showing peachy, apple and citrus flavors, this sparkler will pair with most anything. This is an elegant little bottle of bubbles in any restaurant , yet approachable enough on the budget to be a Saturday morning special on the patio at home.

Go find some and enjoy this groovy little bottle. Happy Wine Wednesday! #fitchio #catherine_anni #thirstwine #welloiledwineco #tulsasomm #tulsasommelier #wine #spanishwine #cava #getsomm