These days, Cynthia’s Drinking Whites!!
Writing about the wines at Lunacy Black Market is something I’ve been wanting to do since we first earned our liquor license (nearly a year ago, Summer 2010).
Our philosophy about food and wine is that both should be enjoyed with verve and a zeal for living!
Limited though this list may be, it is a careful collection of flavors that beguiled my palate upon the first savored sips. Who would typically drink this wine? Is it flavor-forward or coy? Do I detect a hint of black pepper, some lemon zest? Do I recall my grandmother’s apricot jam?
I’ll admit that quaffing wines and tasting them for their unique “vineprints” is a lot of fun, but sharing them with you, and hearing what you all think is—well, funner!
Vini Bianchi! Vins Blancs! White Wines! Vinos Blancos!…
Now that mercury’s charged through the thermometer, it’s time we gave some white wines the attention and love they’re due. (This list is in no particular order.)
Bastille (France) Sauvignon Blanc – This is a Bourgeois Family Selection wine made with the everyday experience in mind. It’s easy-going, and one of those whites you can have on hand to pour at a pool party, for a surprise guest, or to celebrate the end of a hectic day. Lunacy dishes that jump to mind include the Green and Purple Cabbage Salad and our Ropa Vieja with house-roasted bell peppers and herb-whipped ricotta cheese. (Screw-top enclosure.)
Zolo (Argentina) Viognier – These hand-picked viognier grapes from Mendoza are aged in French oak, but add a new world, high-altitude twist to the old world French grapes. The first sip will make your palate soar—a crisp white with a soupcon of white pepper and some other spices I can’t put my finger on. I think it would be an excellent wine to complement our Chicken leg Mediterranean-style or Garbanzo beans with Curry sauce. (Enclosure: cork)
Ipsum (Spain) Verdejo Viura – Wow! I find I’m loving Spanish wines more every day. This one bursts a pineapple flavor that enters through the nose, but emits none of the sugar on the tongue. (It’s an illusion!) This is a fun wine for a fun-loving night, which we are so wont to have after a hot Atlanta day. Totally easy-going, pair this white with just about anything on the Lunacy menu—like the Balsamic pork ribs or our roasted button mushrooms. I’ll definitely keep my eyes peeled for Verdejo and Viura varietals out of Rueda. They’re a blast. (Enclosure: cork)
La Chasse du Pape (France) White Bordeaux – Apricot jam springs to mind with this white Bordeaux, but don’t let that impression fool you! This is also not a sweet wine. The honey-colored liquid has a stately presence on our wine list with hints of citrus. Frankly, it’s a no-brainer if you want good French grapes, handled by the pros. Hailing from the Southern part of Cotes du Rhone, this white expertly blends some varietals I have never heard of (is that something I should admit?), like Grenache blanc (I usually love Grenache “rouge,” so that might be why I like this one!), Bourboulenc, Clairette blanche and Roussane. As I said before, this wine knows itself and doesn’t need pairing – but if you were to do so, you’d be pleased to have it with any of our small plates, including shrimp, chicken and even our refreshing cabbage salad! (Enclosure: cork)
Von der Leyen (Germany) Riesling – I don’t usually gravitate towards sweet wines, but this one still has a seriousness to it that doesn’t harken to corn syrup. In fact, there’s a crispness to it that might even have you thinking there is effervescence there—or maybe that’s the grapefruit and peach dancing around in your mouth. Love spicy foods? In my unofficial rulebook, I’d order a sweet(er) wine like a Riesling or a Gewurtztraminer. But you don’t have to take my word for it. This white was a Wine & Spirits critic’s pick in December 2010! (Enclosure: screw top)
Casal Garcia (Portugal) Vinho Verde – This wine, low in alcohol, is high on the refreshment chart. It has a spritzy effervescence, a crisp fruitiness and grassiness that rings true to its “verde” identity. It will be a hit for any summertime dining—whether on a restaurant patio or with your picnic baskets in a European orchard. From the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, this wine is a blend of white varietals that ranks high in easy-quaffability. If you tend to be shy about drinking wines, don’t hesitate with this one—again, its alcohol content is low, its flavor is light and refreshing, and it is a great accessible everyday drinking white. (Enclosure: screw top)
Novellum, (France) Chardonnay – Chardonnays are typically not my cup of tea, but this one—fermented in steel casks—is a real treat. Thanks to its low acidity, you can taste the delicate chardonnay grape, but I think the flavor is enhanced because I’ve heard it’s aged on the lees of viognier grapes. If you like chardonnay, you’ll really like this wine. If you don’t usually enjoy oaky chardonnays, this wine may actually give you an ah-ha moment. You really can drink this with everything on our menu. Try it with our Asian-style pork ribs or some fried okra. (Enclosure: cork)
Monte Porzio, Il Frascati (Italy) Malvasia/Trebbiano – I’ll be honest with you, I had never heard of these varietals before being presented with this wine—but, of course, I don’t let my ignorance keep me from trying (and drinking) a good wine. Thank goodness for that. This wine, from just south of Rome, will take you back to the times of Bacchus. It’s the wine I go to when people ask me for a pinot grigio. It has a lemony tartness, with a subtle hint of pear. (Or maybe I’m thinking pears because of the bottle’s unique shape…) Anyway, you can’t go wrong with this. Our mushrooms, sweet potato fries and Balsamic pork ribs pair well with this wine. (Enclosure: cork) Baguala (Argentina) Torrontes – Don’t be fooled by the word “valley” in the name of the place where these grapes grow. The Calchaquí Valley happens to be more than 6,000 feet above sea level, and you can’t miss the mineraliness of this wine (is that a word?). Flying over the Andes and seeing the mountain range from above is an awesome sight to behold. It looks nothing like the European Alps, and as you might expect, the grapes fare really well in these lush, green, high-altitude conditions. The sip is definitely crisp and fruity. Thoughts of apricots and maybe a little peach factor in, but this is not a particularly fruity wine. Give it a go! You won’t be disappointed. (Enclosure: cork)
- updated 08.18.2011