Sauvignon In Springtime

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Spring has arrived! How can I tell? Well for one thing, the wisteria that is threatening to throttle my neighbor’s bamboo has unfurled a few pendulous, purple flowers. Also, lemons and juicy citrus fruit are abundant at the market. This last indicator leads me to my latest obsession – preserved lemons. I can’t get enough of that salty, bittersweet tang that preserved lemons lend to dishes. The bountiful Meyer lemon tree that my late grandfather planted 30 plus years ago is essential for making an especially intense preserved lemon (there is a fabulously simple recipe in The Zuni Cafe Cookbook). I chop up the pungent peel into EVERYTHING: risotto with roasted asparagus, root vegetable stew with Moroccan spices, relishes of all types, just to name a few dishes. And to wash this all down perfectly is my “staff pick of the week” the 2007 Montpezat Sauvignon! This is an ideal wine to usher in springtime. Warmer, sunnier weather dictates a lighter, fresher white that can at once be a lovely sipping wine yet complex enough to showcase spring’s tender young greens. To further entice you, The Wine House is offering SPECIAL PRICING: on sale for $9.95 a bottle or $88 per case ($7.34 per bottle – that’s almost 40% off by the case!!!). It’s simple really; we want to make it easy for you to enjoy quality wine everyday of the week!
A little background on Montpezat: Christophe Blanc is a third-generation winemaker for his family’s 100 acre estate. The estate is situated near the medieval town of Pezenas, located in the heart of the Languedoc. Christophe, though quiet and understated in a large crowd, gets animated and passionate when he talks about his wines one on one. He is meticulous and disciplined, overseeing all aspects of making wine. I remember a lovely evening spent at a tiny pizzeria in Nimes drinking his hearty, full-bodied wines along with a group of wine industry folk. David and I enjoyed Christophe’s wines and he took notice. Christophe’s eyes twinkled, and asked if we wanted to taste something new. Of course we did! Out came a bottle from underneath the table. Christophe was demonstrably excited and proud of his wine offerings. I’ve been a fan of his reds, so I was happy to find the same intensity ending up in his white wine.

The 2007 Sauvignon is a weighty white with lots of amplitude and girth for the varietal. That being said, it is all tank-fermented so the body is attributable to the quality of the grapes. Neither grassy nor assertive, I perceive flavors of lemon custard and citrus peel with an ever so slight note of tropical fruit. That lemony rich fruit glides along the palate and finishes with fresh acidity and verve. At my last Friday Night Fish Fry, I enjoyed the palate teasing freshness of the wine while I prepared the salad. For dinner, the pasta with juicy prawns sauteed with shallots, garlic and touches of saffron was enhanced by the citrusy flavors of the 2007 Monpezat Sauvignon. Anything too floral or oaky would have destroyed this dish. Versatility is the name of the game here. In anticipation of upcoming holidays and celebrations, it makes sense to have a stash of this delicious white! Believe me, I’ve tasted a lot of sauvignon blanc from all parts of the globe lately and have not found anything close to this in terms of price, value and character. Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, French Wine

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