I was recently reminded that many Wineaux, myself included, harbor subconscious prejudices about what to drink at what time of year:
Winter = oaky Chardonnay or Zinfandel...
Summer = Grüner Veltliner or rosé...
And we don't even imagine mixing it up, unless there's, say, a fancy food-and-wine pairing going on.
Well, I was feeling heavenly after discovering a lovely wine shop here on the outskirts of Indianapolis (where the grocery store does carry some decent offerings, but not with much variety) - Kahn's Fine Wines. I was perusing the aisles gathering information for a wine class I'll be holding for members of the "Legally Blonde" cast I'm in, and the helpful clerk asked if there was anything else I needed.
As I often do, I said, "Tell me the strangest, weirdest wine that made you go 'woah' when you tasted it, maybe an unusual expression of the variety, or a hidden gem, at about twenty bucks."
"Any variety? Any region?"
"Yep. Just the first wine that jumped into your mind when I asked."
We were standing in the France section, and he reached down to a box at his feet and picked up a Chinon. "Ah, Cab Franc!" I said.
"This is great. Not necessarily for everyone, but I love it. And, as a matter of fact, this is pretty amazing too..." And he picked up a Savennières from a neighboring box.
"The Loire..." I said, and then it struck me - I typically don't drink wines from the expansive Loire valley of France in winter. I think of its Muscadet and Chenin Blanc, steely Sauvignon Blancs and tangy Cabernet Francs as wines to be enjoyed in the heat of summer, not the bitter chill of winter. But I took the wines on his recommendation and was so glad I did.
The 2008 Domaine Laffourcade Savennières was unctuous and rich with lovely notes of melon and taffy, beautifully balanced with a good length. $19.99
The 2010 Béatrice et Pascal Lambert Chinon Les Terraces was tangy with bright red and black berries, a hint of earth, and undertones of dark chocolate and espresso. It had a lot of acidity, but the length went on for ages. $24.99
As I was reminded, I will remind you: don't pigeonhole your wines according to season!! You will miss out on enjoying some amazing vino for half of the year. And I will also remind you: constantly ask your merchants and bartenders for something different, something unusual. You may be reacquainted with an old favorite or have your mind blown with something new. All wonderful stops on the journey of being a Wineaux! Cheers.