Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Summer in a Glass: the 2005 L'Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc "Walla Voila"

March is a tough month in most parts of the country. I remember when I lived on the east coast I always felt like spring was NEVER coming. Ever. Summer seemed a complete impossibility in March. All that warmth and color. No way that was ever coming back.

If you are longing for summer, why not get a taste of it in the glass? Pick up a baguette, some Cypress Grove "Purple Haze" goat cheese if you can find it (has fennel and lavender pollen in it, and it's fabulous), and the very good QPR 2005 L'Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc "Woila Voila." ($12 directly from L'Ecole No. 41, or under $15 through a variety of merchants). Tear off a chunk of bread, smear it with some tart, summery goat cheese, and take a sip of this luscious wine and you will instantly be transported to June. (photo taken with permission of pabulum.ext212 from a photo essay of a vineyard trip on Long Island wineries on her blog)

This wine was pale gold in color, conjuring up images of honeysuckle and yellow roses. Aromas of flowers like honeysuckle and apple blossom followed. When you took a sip the most striking first impression was of a satiny mouthfeel--richer than silky, but not at all syrupy or unctuous. Flavors of honey-dipped apples were accompanied by a brisk, citrusy finish. This wine was slightly off-dry, and would be a good companion to spicy barbequed chicken or buffalo wings, or a miso and soy marinated salmon fillet done up on the grill (if you can find your grill under the snow). Goat cheese and chenin blanc is not exactly a classic pairing, but I found this worked in much the way that port complements blue cheese--the tang of the cheese and the slight sweetness of the wine were very good together.

L'Ecole no. 41 has been named the best regional winery every year from 2002 to 2006 by Wine and Spirits magazine. What a track record! They've been in business since 1983, and have been making old vine, vouvray-style chenin blanc since 1987. The word that crops up again and again on their website is "expressiveness," which is the goal of their viticultural and wine-making philosophy. This wine, which was so expressive of the chenin blanc grape and the summer in which the grapes were grown, really lived up to any expectations I had of their wines from the website. Try one, if you get a chance!


RougeAndBlanc said...

Dr Debs,
I was reading through your older posts and when I saw your reference to this blog, pabulum.ext212, in this article, I can't help sreaming "Gee, I know this person". The funny thing is that Cia and I currently work at the same company now.
What a small world.

Dr. Debs said...

Welcome, Rouge and Blanc! I've got to get a link to you in the sidebar--great new blog. And Cia's a great photographer. The wine world is nice and small, and has some terrific people in it. See you again soon, over here or at RandB.

RougeAndBlanc said...

Dr Debs,
My writing skills and wine knowledge still needs a lot of improvement but thanks for your kind words and encouragement.