November 14, 2012 § Leave a comment
I think “Vouvray” rolls off the tongue better than “Malbec”, and tastes a helluva lot better too, but people don’t buy Vouvray the way they buy Malbec. So, maybe the mellifluous “Chenin” is the better way to get people drinking more wine made from this tantalizing, slightly mysterious varietal.
My column in this week’s Portland Press Herald celebrates the noble Chenin Blanc grape as it is nurtured by appropriate soils and climates outside of the fabled Loire Valley. Specifically, in South Africa — where, in one of the wines, Chenin is blended with deskinned Pinotage! — as well as Washington’s Columbia Valley and Sonoma County’s Dry Creek. Your Thanksgiving table (and guests) will repay you with many, many thanks…
May 23, 2012 § Leave a comment
You’re taken from your home and deposited on a deserted island. You’re given the choice of which region’s wines to bring along. What’s it gonna be? I asked a bunch of thoughtful people — wine salespeople, restaurant beverage managers, writers — and they responded. Today’s column kicks off the conversation, which yielded a surprisingly clear winner: Loire Valley, France. Other contenders were Alto Adige, Campania, and southwest France; we’ll get into those in coming weeks…meanwhile, what’s your choice?
November 2, 2011 § 1 Comment
I write this week about Krista Kern Desjarlais, chef-owner of Bresca in Portland. Krista’s a fantastic cook, of course, but more important (for me) is that she really understands wine’s relationship to food. She crafts a dynamic, continually moving list that never dumbs down, never plays to the big crowds, yet provides countless crowd-pleasing options.
Krista is all about lesser-known regions, and her girl-after-my-own-heart fascination of the moment is with Austrian reds (or, for another good link, Austrian whites), which she rightly sees as well-attuned to the profiles of food and mood in this little corner of our world: cold-climate varietals, very pure and direct, no-BS, complex but inviting.
For most of us a meal at Bresca isn’t an every-week affair, but next time you can save up some nice-meal scratch, get there. And for all-y’all Portland restaurants that don’t get it — and you know who I’m talking about, and you know I mean some of the “best” restaurants in Portland — pay attention to how Krista puts together her list.
January 5, 2011 § 1 Comment