Chenin Blancs are underrated holiday wines

November 14, 2020

Congratulations to all the winners. A huge turnout, well handled by those who worked in the process in Delaware. I’m guessing we’re in for another month or so of blather, legal wrangling and court cases. Another holiday wrecked by the utterly inept handling of results by many states. Like many of you, my friends, I’ve turned off the news in favor of some bubble gum reading and Netflix. I’m feeling much better already. 

The great news on a vaccine is a bit ahead of itself because it will be at least a few months before distribution to patient, is able. Keep in mind the Pfizer treatment requires shipping and storage at -100°F (-73.33°C). Moderna’s entry stores at -4 F. To implement, Pfizer designed suitcase-sized shipping containers that will keep the vaccine at ultra-cold temperatures for up to 10 days. Each container holds between 1,000 and 5,000 doses. Treatment will take two doses, 21 days apart, and they are predicting 100 million ready by first of year. It seems to mean less than 20 percent of the population can be treated. and of those. 500,000 may reject the benefit. I’m ecstatic the scientific community has succeeded and hoping more good news is coming from other efforts. Here is a NYT article that seems accurate. I read several others. Theirs seems most comprehensive:

On to wine and some favorably priced alternative options for turkey and ham. I wish I could get more RRs to try some Chenin Blanc. The 2019 is regarded by most reviewers as the recent best vintage. No, behind the hand, moans please. CB can be made in several styles. Sec is bone dry, Vouvray is off dry and Moelleux is sweet and great with Key Lime Pie. In addition to turkey and ham, CB is a lovely treat for vegetarian, shellfishian and Asian. Let’s start with Three Pears Chenin Blanc Viognier blend. Labeled Rare White Blend, a term “Wine-Searcher uses to group white wines made from uncommon or unusual grape variety blends. The category also encompasses wines whose blend is either unknown or not published by the winery.” In Three Pear’s case that likely diminished its price. $11 and 87 McD. Look for tropical fruit nose, ripe pears, with honey and vanilla subset on the palate; 2018 finishes medium long and cleanly. 

Dry Creek, Wilson Ranch, CB from Clarksburg will set you back $14; 88 McD. An aromatic, dry, slightly acidic wine with pear, citrus and tropical fruit bouquet. On the creamy palate look for honey and mineral flavors. Upscale shoppers should search for Chappalet Signature ”Molly,” CB, Napa, 2016-18.  All three are 90 McD;  a bit pricey at $41 but worth the candle. Somehow, I think Chappalet’s Pritchard Hill Cab is influencing the price. “Molly” will hold thru 2021 but are drinking beautifully now. Btw there’s an anomaly on the market. I saw 2013 Pritchard Hill Cab, 95 by everyone, on sale in New Jersey, for $200/bottle. That’s a great buy! Came in at $235 in 2017. 

 For the Jewish holidays Herzog Late Harvest CB, Clarksburg, 2017 is remarkable. Those who enjoy slightly sweet whites will love this. The bright acidity balances, avoiding the “sticky” problem so many sweet wines exhibit. A lovely honey color, it opens to a complex bouquet of apple, pear, honey with a faint subset of raisin and apricot. On the palate more apple and pear with mineral touch. As the wine warms it becomes more complex. Look for ginger, apricot and more pronounced honey flavors. Drum roll please - all this for $20, 88 McD 2 price points <BREAK>

Ever had a Picpoul de Pinet? Piquepoul translates as “lip stinger.” For my money, best domestic producer is the original Rhone Ranger, Randall Grahm. How many winemakers do you know who write “When making wine I eschew vinous maquillage (theatrical makeup).” Bonny Doon Vineyard Picpoul, Beeswax Vineyard, Arroyo Seco, 2018, $16, 90 McD. Mixed bouquet of lemon, peaches and pear aromas repeat as flavors on the palate. The fruit is supported by bright, mineral acidity, with a very long, clean, dry finish.  An excellent salt oyster and fresh white fish; hold the lemon, wine. 

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