From the exploration of the Walking Dunes on Long Island to a look ahead at the August civic holiday long weekend, wine persists as the imperative of investigation. Vines are like the barren landscape’s phantom forest of forever shifting powder, speaking of a specific idea, a philosophy, a métier. A forest of pitch pine and oak is buried over by wind driven, walking sands. Truth be told, the pursuit of wine is made possible by ever evolving vines, each unique to its local sense of place.
I go wining like the Montauketts and Bonackers who once worked these fruitful waters. I rake the releases and wine stores to unearth gems like the crabs and clams crawling in Montauk’s living waters.
The dry summer is creating a challenge to crops but the teeming ocean swells alive. Lobster, Fluke, Blue Fish, Scallops and especially crabs are abundant and well-priced. Look for these under $20 values to enliven your long weekend meals.
The grape: Pinot Gris
The history: Alsatian at heart, PG is laying down roots all over the New World
The lowdown: Arguably the finest Kiwi version I’ve found, especially at this price
The food match: Steamed Mussels in white wine, shallot, fennel and tarragon
Spinyback Pinot Gris 2010 (214569, $16.95) of sexy flesh and bone has got a lot going on for the IVR*. River walks through Maori gardens of “ginger, lemon, indigo, coriander stem and rose of hay.” Biting chalky, mineral and pear, finding the river and swimming with Notacanthus sexspinis. 89
The grape: Chardonnay
The history: Lack of oak in Chablis makes for mineral-driven wines
The lowdown: Quality is rarely high at the under $20 (non-Cru) level. This could be your Wonderwall
The food match: Steamed and Grilled Soft-Shell Crab with lime aioli
Domaine Des Malandes Chablis 2010 (111658, $18.95) is a crisp, fresh, floral and tropical oasis of quality in a sea of mediocrity. The citron pressé, “back beat, the word was on the street” Malandes is endowed of high complexity and complement. 88
The grape: Fiano
The history: Ancient varietal from southern Italy
The lowdown: The unheralded whites of the Campania are one of the wine world’s undiscovered treasures
The food match: Grilled Calamari with garlic, olive oil, lemon, capers and parsley
Terre Dora Fiano di Avellino 2010 (120048, $18.95) is always good company and accompanies warm water seafood with pairing ease. Juicy, bursting citrus and tropical, tree-fruit flavours. This Fiano of one of Terre Dora’s three terrific, single-varietal whites (along with the Greco and Falanghina). This Fiano can knock on my door anytime. 89
The grape: Syrah
The history: Noble, dark as night varietal from the Northern Rhône
The lowdown: Languedoc Syrah tends to need support from Grenache and Mourvedre but this one emulates the northern style, in a top vintage and for a song
The food match: Crispy Pork Belly and parsnip pureé
Domaine Les Yeuses Les Épices Syrah 2009 (177584, $13.95) is certainly more north than south with its smokey, cured beef and pork perambulations. Depth to raise thoughts of Septaguanarian Hermitage vines of twist and gnarl. A touch of burnt rubber and varnish but all in all a heap of Syrah for under $14. 87
The grape: Garnacha
The history: Big, juicy red of French and Iberian fame
The lowdown: Under $15 Calatayud Garnacha has become a consistent go to value
The food match: Ground Sirloin Burgers with Mahon Cheese
Filón Garnacha 2010 (280602, $14.95) is actually a bit of a misprision because of its black fruit character. Re-enacts Tuscan IGT and the most modern of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Tar, asphalt, bitter chocolate and sanguine Kirsch and very, very ripe fruit. Grand oak and tons of wine at $15. 88
The grape: Zinfandel
The history: Primate-like cousin to Primitivo from Italy and before that, Yugoslavia
The lowdown: Dry Creek Valley does this varietal like no other; sweet and dry.
The food match: Dry Rub, St. Louis Style Side Ribs
Pedroncelli Bushnell Vineyard Zinfandel 2009 (463026, $22.95) is so toothsome and bruising you may want to eat it with a fork. A sickly sweet moment is rescued by the DCV terroir. This 15.2% abv elixir of crushed and blended berries is a single-vineyard beauty that begs a question. Why pay $50 for top-tier Zinfandel when you can go Pedroncelli? 89
The grapes: Grenache and Syrah
The history: Storied producer of more than 200 years located near the famous Dentelles de Montmirail
The lowdown: The best Grapillon since 2001
The food match: Grilled Delmonico Sirloin Steak with cherry tomato, avocado and black beans salsa
Domaine Du Grapillon D’or Gigondas 2010 (981787, $28.95) of inky, jet black pitch is bombastic and confidently announces itself of full extraction. Blueberry compote, macerated cherries, roasted and bleeding elk all come to the visceral mind. Sweet, viscous liquor with acidity and viscous tannin. Needs 10 years or several oxygenated hours to settle in. 91
You decidedly put a new spin on a subject that’s been written about for years. Extraordinary stuff, just great! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think, thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner too.
You ‘re so impressive! I don’t reckon Ive read anything like this before. So nice to find somebody with some unique opinions on this topic. I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for permiting me to remark!.
You should take part in a contest for one of the most clever blogs on the web. I will endorse this web site!.