Today's Sponsor
 California Wine Club
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In This Issue
 Pause that refreshes Looking for a light, refreshing break from all that holiday feasting? Try Vin de Savoie ... and maybe a little take-out Chinese.
 The California Wine Club Order by Dec. 2 and get The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide free!
 Domaine Labbé 2005 Vin de Savoie Abymes ($10.99)
Simple but very fresh and appealing; relatively low alcohol and mouth-watering acidity come together in a fine food wine.
 Chefs strip down for charity A little naughty but very nice, this full-color calendar features a dozen Louisville chefs who bare it (almost) all to help a family bear catastrophic medical expenses.
 This week on
A wine expert's advice on wine matches with holiday feasts, and our forum participants talk about their Turkey Day picks. Don't miss our poll on using the refrigerator as a wine cellar!
Last Week's Wine Advisor Index The Wine Advisor archives.
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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.

The food part was easy: When I'm satiated with heavy Western food, I routinely turn to the East for the fresh, bright flavors of Chinese, Vietnamese or Thai. Fighting off the temptation of the takeout option, I dusted off the wok to stir-fry an old favorite, shrimp with lobster sauce, a dish that mysteriously contains no lobster. (It's so called because the sauce is the same as that used with classic Lobster Cantonese.)

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.

Today's Sponsor

California Wine Club
Get your free copy of The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide
From The California Wine Club

Place your holiday gift orders before Dec. 2 and we'll send you a free copy of Leslie Sbrocco's latest book: The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide.

The California Wine Club has been delivering gifts of holiday cheer since 1990. Send a gift of award-winning, limited-production wine hand-selected from California's best artisan wineries. Gift packages start at just $32.95 plus shipping and include a copy of the club’s entertaining wine magazine, Uncorked.

For wine connoisseurs, choose from the upper-level club Signature Series. For those with a taste for international adventure, try the International Selections.

Call 1-800-777-4443 to place your holiday gift orders or visit Be sure to ask for your free copy of The Simple & Savvy Wine Guide!

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Abymes 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.

Savoie = "Sahv-wah"
Abymes = "Ah-beem"

Here's a fact sheet on Labbé's Abymes from Michael Skurnik, an importer:
Click the producer's name, Roger Labbé, near the top of that page for more information and photos.

Look up vendors and check prices for Labbé Abymes on

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Public Service Announcement
Chefs strip down for charity

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

Some highlights of recent articles on that I hope you'll enjoy:

Vino 101: Gobble-licious pairings
Around the world, it's time for celebratory revelries. In this holiday edition, Jorge Eduardo Castillo focuses on pairing wines with the items that are traditionally enjoyed during holiday festivities.

Hot topics in our WineLovers Discussion Groups
Our WineLovers' Discussion Groups are the best places online to ask wine questions and participate in the civil and intelligent discussion of good things to eat and drink. Our WineLovers Discussion Group (WLDG) is the Internet's original wine forum, a non-commercial venue intended for wine-related conversations that range from apprentice-level to wine professionals. Our WineLovers Community on the Netscape/CompuServe service is dedicated to wine education, a friendly place to get quick answers to your questions about wine, beer, spirits and all good things to drink.

Turkey Day wine faves
Our WineLovers Discussion Group participants are comparing notes on Thanksgiving Day wines and how they went with the holiday feast. You're welcome to join in!

Do you store wine in the fridge?
Following up on Friday's topic, do you use your refrigerator as a wine cellar, or stick with the conventional wisdom that advises against this? If you haven't already clicked your ballot choice in the Netscape WineLovers Community, please take a moment to vote:

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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Monday, Nov. 27, 2006
Copyright 2006 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.

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