Anything but Chardonnay?
But that being said, it's easy to understand why some wine lovers, marching under the banner "Anything But Chardonnay," not-so-quietly rebel against this particular grape.
Yes, Chardonnay at its best makes some of the world's finest wines, particularly in Burgundy and Champagne and with outposts in Australia and California and elsewhere. But too many of the Chardonnays that seem to dominate retail shelf space and restaurant wine lists are, frankly, boring. Chardonnay has become a popular mass-market wine because it can be made soft, mellow and just a notch to the sweet side of "dry." A regular diet of that kind of thing can be as cloying as too much ice cream.
Sauvignon Blanc offers one escape for white-wine fanciers seeking an alternative to Chardonnay. The increasingly popular Pinot Gris/Grigio is another, not to mention Riesling, Viognier, Albarino and many more. But don't overlook Chenin Blanc, particularly as rendered in the Loire Valley of France. Here's a fine and relatively affordable example made by the Monmousseau family of Vouvray.
Chateau Gaudrelle 1999 Vouvray Val de Loire ($9.99)
FOOD MATCH: Made to go with seafood, this one also made a great match with a simple leek frittata. Who says egg dishes don't go with wine?
WEB LINKS: The Web address shown on the label, http://www.gaudrelle.com, does not work, but the Monmousseau winery has a Website in French at http://www.monmousseau.com/; click the British flag icon or go to http://www.monmousseau.com/uk/sommaire.html for the English edition. The importer's Website is at http://www.kysela.com/, with a fact sheet on the Monmousseau wines at http://www.kysela.com/loire/monmo.htm.
The 2000 Years Ferreira's Vintage Port Cabinet is made up of 24 bottles of Vintage Ferreira Port Wine whose summed ages amount to 2000 years in 2001.
The 250 Years Ferreira's Vintage Port Cabinet is made up of six bottles of Vintage Ferreira Port Wine whose summed ages amount to 250 years in 2001.
The two Cabinets have been made of Portuguese oak by local craftsmen, and the bottles are in drawers marked in chronological order with the year of each Vintage. Each Cabinet includes six Riedel glasses and the book "A.A. Ferreira - Wines Steeped in History." The book describes the weather conditions and the main events in Portugal and abroad in each of the years and contains the tasting notes for each Vintage.
In view of the extreme rarity and delicacy of these Ports, only 10 collections of the 2000 Years Vintage and 250 collections of the 250 Years Vintage will be made available. Come and visit these exclusive collections at www.2000yearsvintage.com by clicking to http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor/porto.html.
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Wednesday, Dec. 19, 2001