Wine of the Green
Among all the seasonal questions that arise about wine, one that is sure to fill my E-mail box comes at this time of year, St. Patrick's Day.
If it's really more of an American custom than Irish to celebrate the March 17 feast day of Ireland's patron saint with Irish music and hearty fare, never mind: This happy holiday has just about everyone wearin' o' the Green.
What does all this have to do with wine? Simple: The traditional feast of the season, corned beef and cabbage, can be an iffy wine match. Corned beef, like ham, is salty and full-flavored, and the dry red wines that go so well with beef and lamb may come across as sour and tannic when they're paired with St. Paddy's favorite.
My No. 1 choice for the dinner du jour, frankly, is beer - preferably a tall, cool Guinness with a creamy head thick enough to float a farthing. But if wine it's to be, then let it be a fresh, fruity red with snappy acidity - a Beaujolais, maybe, or a Barbera or Mourvedre - or a fruity and possibly off-dry white, a Riesling or Chenin Blanc. The excellent, affordable Vouvray that I report as today's tasting would be perfect.
For a little extra fun, unrelated to wine, I'll leave you today with a link that I sent along at this same time last year. If you're surfing from the office, you might want to turn down your speaker volume before you click the first tune on "Songs of Ireland,"
Foreau 2000 Vouvray Sec ($14.99)
Featured as this month's topic in Wine Tasting 101, this excellent Loire white shows a clear pale-gold color in the glass, typical of Chenin Blanc. Fresh white fruit aromas, pears and apples, add delicate earthy notes that segue from wool to pleasant, clean dairy notes like cream or fresh Brie. Dry and tart flavors follow the nose, with full-bodied texture to carry crisp acidity. Clean, tingly white-fruit flavors linger in a very long finish. The wine gains even more complexity as it airs and warms in the glass. Balanced and refined, ageworthy, an exceptional wine. U.S. importer: Rosenthal Wine Merchant in New York, Vintner Select in Cincinnati, and other regional importers. (March 11, 2003)
FOOD MATCH: Worked very well with a simple dish of sauteed chicken with rosemary and a light white-wine sauce; as noted, it would also make a fine seasonal match with corned beef and cabbage!
VALUE: Very good value, a match for much more expensive whites.
WHEN TO DRINK: Although ready to enjoy, Loire Chenin Blancs of this quality can be matured for many years, even a decade or more under good cellar conditions.Administrivia
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Wednesday, March 12, 2003