You say White Burgandy, I say Chardonnay

As a former Press Secretary on Capitol Hill, I often found The Wall Street Journal as my go-to news source.  It had everything I needed to know to tell my boss about the latest in policy, financial news, or breaking events.  Now, I find that the lifestyle section (even sans millionaire status) is a must, and especially the reviews on wine.  How else would I know that Costco carries exceptional finds?  So in a recent article, “The New Master of Affordable White Burgandies,” I found inspiration to head to my local store and try one–or a few–out.

Before I get to the taste testing, I have to rewind a few weeks to the surprise birthday party of my girlfriend, Ellen.  Marcel’s, one of the best French restaurants in DC, was the backdrop and the prelude to the main course featured a crisp, slate-bright, green-fruited white wine that was so well-balanced and acidic, I neglected the red wine present throughout the remainder of dinner.  If diamonds have a liquid equivalent, this was it.  My friend informed me when I asked, “Oh, it’s a white Burgandy.”  Not Chablis. Not Chardonnay.  Simply, a white Burgandy.

As easily as she told me the kind, I thought the style would be as easily indicative of the region.  Therefore, all white Burgandies must be of the same quality.   The $24 reference in WSJ was my beacon of hope–the price didn’t seem unreasonable, and if that was the case, I was bound for Burgandy success.

I picked up a bottle of Macon La Roche Vineuse 2011, and as it poured into the glass, was slightly shocked at the light gold color, reminiscent of California Chardonnays.  The oaky, yellow-apple, and fuller-bodied taste made me take a double take at the label.  It had none of the crisp, refreshing mineral flavor I was looking for–only the flaccid oaky taste of a cheaper, off-brand Chardonnay.  The acid was not there, nor the finish.  This was not what I expected for the $22 mark.

Overall, this was a white Burgandy that disappointed and did not hold true to the region (or I should say my expectation of the region), but I think it hit the mark of what a Chardonnay can be.  Next time, I’ll do a little more research before diving in to this Zone 1 category wine.

White burgandy
1 out of 5

ISO That Special “One”

I am probably one of the few that holds Valentine’s Day at arms length–I neither love it nor hate it, but I do find a nice bouquet of flowers (even if a mandatory surprise) a nice break in the day.   While I do not begrudge all in-love couples their romantic notions, I have to say that I think of Cruella De Vil, not Cupid, as its poster child.   I wonder about the sincerity of the holiday, but more than that I think more generally: if you had a fur coat, wouldn’t you flaunt it, too?

That said, one of my favorite parts about the holiday is that my mother always sends me a Valentine’s, and while overlooked in the past, I now look forward to that most of all. I watch the mail for the card she would have purchased at Christmas or in the new year– simple, straightforward, and full–a small card that says big things, and to think of her waiting months to send a card of love, I think of one of her favorite people (to remain unnamed) who said: “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”  In life, I value these little things.

So, this Valentines, I also felt the obligation to open a bottle of wine to mark the holiday. (I say obligation because I am one of the masses who has been hit by a cold).  I didn’t want to spend a lot (since my tastebuds were compromised), so I picked up what seemed to be a value deal at Whole Foods.  “One Wine,” a 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon from Columbia Valley was a good choice for the day, the flu season, and a nice Valentine’s Day steak dinner.  A medium-bodied, black-fruit forward wine with rich tannins and small notes of black cherries and smoke,  it cut through the congestion and held it’s own.  While flavorful, it lacked a long, balanced finish I had hoped to find in this “deal,” but at $19.99, it was exactly what I was looking for–something inexpensive, simple, and straightforward.    It line with the day, it was more homey than showy.

Even under the weather, it was a Zone 2 wine–I would definitely have a glass or two, but I don’t feel the need to overindulge.

Wine Pic-One