Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Spa Wine

Sometimes you want a big wine, a wine that' s bold and brash and practically a meal in itself with chewy tannins and lots of body. But sometimes you want something light, lean, and fresh. I call these "spa wines," wines that seem to refresh you and clear the cobwebs out of your palate as much as a day at the spa. I often find myself drawn to this kind of wine after a long day at work, or if I've been drinking too many brawny reds and eating too much steak.

A wine that certainly qualifies as a "spa wine" in my book is the 2005 Domaine de la Fruitière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Cuvée Petit M. ($8.95, Chronicle Wine Cellar; available elsewhere for between $8 and $10) This wine had delicate fresh lime and mineral aromas, which conjured up images of citrus trees and walks on the beach. When you sipped the wine, it had light and lean lime, grapefruit, and stone flavors. This muscadet was lithe and supple like a yoga class, not heavy and muscular. This was not a terribly complex muscadet, but is was delicious, and at under $10 it certainly represented very good QPR.

With such a light wine, I certainly didn't want to weigh it down with heavy or rich food. This wine screams out for shellfish or fish. While it is a brilliant pairing for something as light and lean as it is, it could handle something a bit more decadent, too. We had it with an Asian salmon rice bowl with lots of lime and some tangy cucumbers and it was lovely. But the last bit of the wine was just as good with a decadent Nigella Lawson shrimp and mango curry with coconut milk. This is in her new book, Nigella Express, which is due out next week (Oct. 30) here in the US. I scored a copy in England last month, and can testify that the curry recipe is worth the price of the book. Not precisely spa food, with all that coconut milk, but awfully good nonetheless.

8 comments:

Jill said...

this is a wine imported by Jon-David Headrick, who is the 2nd in command for Eric Solomon I believe. He has about 10 wines that he brings in, mostly from the Loire Valley, and his taste in wine is excellent. His label design is another story -- sort of Josef Albers on crack (or, perhaps, not enough crack?). One exception: I love the Chiens-Chiens Noblaie label...

They sell this wine and a few other JD selections at Larchmont (Le Paradou, Vouvray Le Craie). We're thinking about bringing in some but they are almost too good a price-point for a shipping-based business!

William said...

I agree, having had little experience (none) I was lured into the purchase when Wine Library has this one on the daily free shipping special a while back. $7.98 an an excellent wine.

Marcus said...

Mmmm....Muscadet. I'm on a Muscadet kick over on my blog all this week so I'm loving this. Is it verging on a trend or is it just oyster season getting into full swing?

I got three great picks from Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine over here, if you are interested.

Wine Scamp said...

Fantastic description, Dr. Debs! I love the yoga class reference.

winedeb said...

I am liking your "spa wine"! I will have to see if I can round one up down here. And, of course, the dishes sound like a great match!
Cheers!

RougeAndBlanc said...

Jon-David Headrick reminds me of Eric Solomon when he started out in the import business. He indeeds brings in quite a few of the Loire gems that is easy on the wallet. The Domaine du Viking Vouvray Tendre imported by him is also excellent (another good wine under $20 for you). He is definetely an importer to watch.

Jay said...

Yay! I sell this!!

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks to Jill, Marcus, and Rouge and Blanc for the leads on other muscadets and on other JD wines. I've had the Le Craie, Jill, and it was also excellent. Jay, you have to tell us where you sell it next time!