Pause that refreshes
By the weekend after Thanksgiving, just about everybody I know is ready for a break from the excesses of rich food and over-the-top wine. With the rest of the holiday season beckoning with its lure of more of the same, Sunday seemed like a great day for something plain and simple, on the table and in my glass.
What to pour with it? Something simple, something fresh. Something that celebrates the purity of simple fruit, with plenty of crisp acidity to sharpen the jaded appetite. Extra credit for something from an off-the-beaten-path region or uncommon grape ...
Aha! There was the perfect 'tis-the-season antidote, right there in my queue of wines lined up for tasting: Vin de Savoie meets or exceeds all those criteria: It comes from well off the well-trodden wine roads, Savoie in Eastern France, bordering Switzerland on Lake Geneva near the source of the Rhone. It's made from a little-known regional grape, Jacquere ("Zhock-air"), and in this affordable bottling from Roger Labbé, it's delightfully un-oaked and unmanipulated ... just the thing for coming down from a holiday food high.
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Domaine Labbé 2005 Vin de Savoie Abymes ($10.99)
This is a very light wine, transparent straw color brightened with a brassy tint. Fresh melon and apple aromas lead into a light, crisp flavor reminiscent of honeydew melon that segues into a snappy citric-limey finish. Simple but very fresh, relatively low (11% alcohol) and mouth-watering acidity makes it a fine food wine. U.S. importer: Vintner Select, Mason, Ohio; Michael Skurnik Wines, NYC, and other regional importers. (Nov. 26, 2006)
FOOD MATCH: Fresh fruit, snappy acidity and balance make for a food-friendly flavor profile, and it's just fine with the mix of seafood, pork and aromatic Asian flavors in Cantonese shrimp with lobster sauce.
VALUE: You won't find much more value in the $10 range for a refreshing, quaffable and food-friendly white.
WHEN TO DRINK: This style of wine is best enjoyed young and fresh, during the first year or so after release; neither the wine nor its short synthetic-foam cork is intended for long-term keeping.
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When a Louisville family with long ties to the restaurant community faced catastrophic medical expenses, a dozen local chefs took it all off, or most of it anyway, posing for a tongue-in-cheek wall calendar, a PG-13-rated 12-pager in which they display just about everything but artfully concealed naughty bits.
The resulting full-color calendar, "Louisville Chefs' Best Kept Secrets," is "very tasteful but very naughty." It seeks to raise money for Christina Bayens, 26, who has had cystic fibrosis since birth. Bayens received a double-lung transplant in St. Louis last summer, a costly venture that her parents, Mark and Linda Bayens, said "was too much for us to bear alone."
Christina is doing well, but bills still have to be paid. Whether you live in Louisville or just about anywhere, we thought you might want to lend a hand ... and enjoy this gently bawdy calendar for "foodies" throughout 2007. It's on sale at many Louisville-area restaurants, and we're offering it online for $20 (plus $2 postage) through my LousvilleHotBytes Website. Click for details or to get your calendar while they last:
This week on WineLoversPage.com
Some highlights of recent articles on WineLoversPage.com that I hope you'll enjoy:
Vino 101: Gobble-licious pairings
Hot topics in our WineLovers Discussion Groups
Turkey Day wine faves
Do you store wine in the fridge?
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index
The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays (and, for those who subscribe, the FoodLetter on Thursdays). Here's the index to last week's columns:
Myths busted? (Nov. 24, 2006)
Dolcetto (Nov. 22, 2006)
Beaujolais for Turkey Day (Nov. 20, 2006)
Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
Wine Advisor FoodLetter: Turkey for two (Nov. 23, 2006)
Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
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All the wine-tasting reports posted here are consumer-oriented. In order to maintain objectivity and avoid conflicts of interest, I purchase all the wines I rate at my own expense in retail stores and accept no samples, gifts or other gratuities from the wine industry.
Monday, Nov. 27, 2006