Tuesday, July 28, 2015
Here’s the thing: I love Chenin Blanc. In fact, I actually think it’s the most underrated grape in the wine world. It does, after all, produce some of the world’s most amazing wines and yet, at least in this country, has never truly recovered from the bad rap it got in the 70s when it was over-cropped and turned into jug wine from California’s Central Valley.
But, I’m serious. At basically every dinner where a special Chenin Blanc has been snuck into the line-up, it’s stolen the show. And the Chenins below are all special in their own way. Some pricier and more complex than others, but all delicious and incredibly predisposed to a fine food pairing. In fact, I served the Petillant (fancy way of saying sparkling) in this dinner at my wedding. And, no surprise here, everyone just kept on going back for more.
The wines for this dinner are all imported by a good friend Zingo Munger and are from the two regions I feel make the finest Chenin in the world, the Loire Valley of France and Stellenbosch, South Africa. The French ones being perhaps a bit more high-toned and the South African being a bit more rambunctious, but each marvelous in their own way.
I do want to leave you with one more thought. Should you choose to pick up a few of these wines for yourself, do yourself a favor and do so with either the Le Clos or DeMorgenzon and put them away for a couple of years. They age impeccably and will turn into something even more magnificent than what they are right now.
Compressed watermelon and cucumber with shaved country ham -Domaine Careme Vouvray Petillant Cuvee T 2012
Salad of romaine and grilled peaches with crispy onions and buttermilk -Clos du Gaimont Vouvray 2013
Black rice and white anchovy-stuffed tomato, roasted, with cherry tomato coulis -Raats Family Original Chenin Blanc 2013
Guinea hen galantine with green papaya salad and basil -Domaine Careme Vouvray Le Clos 2010
Star Anise-cured pork loin with Chinese quince jus and daikon pudding -DeMorgenzon Chenin Blanc Reserve 2014