An Iterative Pun: Dry Chenin from Dry Creek

The Back Story:

I just had long, fulfilling day, early at work, tossing cardboard boxes off a truck, getting my wine(accessorized) affairs in order before I took an early weekend, then spending the afternoon wrestling with the DMV (not the people there… they were without a doubt the nicest people I’ve ever dealt with in a government capacity, I just have bad mojo when it comes to multiple choice tests on touch screens).

Once I got home, I broke into the remainder of a sub-$10 Italian Rosato, Vecchia Torre Leverano Rosato, to be exact. It was over 90 degrees outside, the house was warm, and that wine just didn’t hit the spot. I said in its review that it’s good for a warm spring or summer afternoon. When it’s that hot and humid, though, honest-to-god-I’m-sweating-just-from-opening-the-door-that’s-how-bad-it-is-hot, this wine doesn’t work.

Instead of making the effort to make a decision myself, I decided to leave it up to the Twitterverse. I offered up the choice between a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, a Chablis, or a dry Chenin Blanc. The response came back 50/50 for the Sauv Blanc, Chenin Blanc. Becauce I’ve been on a Sauv Blanc tear recently, I went with the Chenin Blanc. I’m gonna have to say, thank you, Twitterverse.

The Results:

Dry Creek Dry Chenin BlancThe appearance of the wine is a light yellow with a slight green tint. It appears to have a fairly low viscosity.

The nose of the wine is fairly typical for a dry Chenin Blanc. It’s rather subdued, fruity, with a bit of alcohol heat. It has a fairly simple scent of honey, crisp green apple, and lime.

The mouth feel of the wine is a bit fuller than I expected, very creamy, with a tingling, lasting acidity.

The flavor of the wine mimics the nose, but fuller, smoother. The attack is very minerally, which fades into a nice apple and citrus. There’s also medium finish with a very pure flavor of ripe banana. The flavor is very, almost surprisingly soft, yet still tart. It’s dry, yes, but offset by enough residual sugar that it’s on the lower end of dry. It’s an interesting and sublime sensation, and that sensation goes with the flavor on the finish extremely, extremely well. I absolutely love the balance of this wine.

For the Casual Drinker:

This is a very pleasant, very flavor neutral kind of wine. The acidity and alcohol aren’t terribly prominent, which keeps the wine in balance with the subtle flavors and lack of sweetness. The apple, citrus, and tropical notes on the nose and palate are pretty suitable to most white wine enthusiasts, and the soft dryness will be more palatable to red wine drinkers. As far as food pairing, chicken, not too spicy, or pork, not too spicy. Grilling these meats outdoors with this wine just sounds like a winner to me.

The Conclusion:

As @jontroutman said as he answered my request, a dry Chenin Blanc “when done right, [is] one of the greatest wine pleasures.” While this isn’t the greatest Chenin Blanc I’ve had, it certainly hit the spot after a long, arduous day. That this one comes in at around $13 makes it all the sweeter. 7/10

P.S. Oh look, a screw-cap!

Spin the Wheel: Indie Music Wine Pairings

The cool thing about wine is that the experience pairs well with not only food, but with any number of activities. You can sip a fine, complex wine while listening to an orchestral serenade, a light, fruit-forward dessert wine during a comedy, or a jug of Two-Buck Chuck during a tailgate (though I hope you at least use a glass). One guy I know likes to pair Chardonnay with his hunting trips. Whatever you’re into, I’m positive there’s a wine out there that’s perfectly suited to it. Because one of my passions is music, specifically independent music, I put a lot of thought into pairing different wines with music. I figured today I would share a couple of my musings on the subject with the randomizer on my music player as an inspiration.

Hercules & Love Affair – Blind

Hercules & Love Affair is a remarkable band that has taken musical anachronism in a different direction. While most independent bands that look to the past for their inspiration usually settle on emulating the new wave style of music pioneered by Devo, Duran Duran, The Cure, and all the other awesome bands that get mocked in pop culture nowadays, Hercules & Love Affair look to ignite a disco revival. Their music wraps European-style modern electronica and male/female vocals around the four-on-the-floor funk beats of classic disco, making them one of the few bands left that can call themselves “unique” and not sound like they’re in denial.

To match this unusual band, I’m looking for an unusual wine that might not be characteristic of its varietal. To match the flamboyance of an electronic disco artist without going with a traditionally sweet or exotic varietal, I think I’d have to go with a Vouvray. Made from Chenin Blanc, which usually produces drier, very aggressive and fruity white wines in its traditional environments, produces incredibly complex and harmonious wines when allowed to fully ripen in warm seasons in cooler climates. When Vouvray has a good growing season (which is happening more and more often due to global warming), the wines develop additional notes, a floral, honeyed character and a crisp sweetness that, well, is a reason why these wines are becoming a quick favorite of mine. The wine ages very well, too, which reflects the classic music influences of Hercules & Love Affair. Let’s face it, Vouvray is a very active wine, both in its high acidity and complex flavors, and like disco, it just makes you wanna dance, whether you want to admit it or not!

Bishop Allen – Calendar

A carefree band that revels in its minimal instrumentation, Bishop Allen has long been one of my favorite bands. I discovered them while I lived in Lynchburg, VA, not knowing that they were at the same time stationed in Lynchburg as a temporary reprieve from life in New York City. They have an honest affection for folk music, surprising complexity in their instrumentation, and a positive outlook that tempers even the most somber of subject matter. Justin Rice, the lead singer and guitarist, is a perpetually awkward 20-something, and in fact plays the lead as a perpetually awkward 20-something in Mutual Appreciation, one of my favorite movies. He chronicles this attitude, though, with maturity and a good sense of humor.

What to pair with Bishop Allen? I want a young wine that’s fresh and fruity, fairly light-bodied, but with a mature enough structure to be taken seriously. I’m leaning towards a New World Sangiovese. These tend to be brighter, less bitter, and more floral than the traditional Italian style, yet still retaining the red wine’s inherent acidity and tannic character. After the initial burst of playful red fruits, there’s potential for darker fruits, spices, even tobacco, the hallmarks of richer red wines. Once you get past the youthful enthusiasm of Bishop Allen, you’ll realize that, in their upbeat way, they like to tackle some pretty heavy topics.

Any music enthusiasts out there? I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. This was a lot of fun, and I definitely plan on doing this again. I might even make it a weekly feature.

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