Saturday, January 9, 2010

QNY Wine List: A Fantastic Local Chenin Blanc

By Brooklyn Bill

I enjoy a dry chenin blanc every once in a while when I want a break from reds or when the main course for dinner calls for something white. I started drinking a lot of CBs from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa with my friends Bob and Jen not long after I moved to the city and into their apartment building. By accident, I hit upon a Stellenbosch chenin that we all really liked from a winery named Simonsig. (I wrote about that wine back in the early days of Hawleyblog, when I had no freakin' clue about photos.)

I'm always on the lookout for more good chenins labeled with that grape name (for U.S. and South African wines) or with the Vouvray appellation (for French ones).* And I was particularly excited the other day to see the 2008 Paumanok Chenin Blanc at Red White & Bubbly. I'd read in Lettie Teague's column in the December issue of Food & Wine that she considers this bottling, from the North Fork of Long Island, to be the finest CB produced in the U.S. (Eric Asimov of the New York Times is also a fan; he calls it "one of the best American chenin blancs around.")

The Paumanok cost $26, more than I'm used to paying for a CB. But it was an absolutely delicious, classic CB with aromas and flavors of citrus and pome fruits and honey and honeysuckle. I will definitely get more.

*There are other appellations in France's Loire Valley where CB is the predominant white grape used in wines ranging from dry to very sweet, but I haven't experimented with them. And Vouvray seems to be the most commonly available here in the States.

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