Ray Isle (@islewine on Twitter) is Food & Wine's executive wine editor. We trust his every cork pop and decant – and the man can sniff out a bargain to boot. Take it away, Ray.
Whenever autumn hits - leaves start falling, the light takes on that crepuscular cast earlier and earlier in the afternoon - I always start opening more Chenin Blanc. It’s an underrated grape, largely forgotten by casual wine buyers amid seas of Chardonnay, but its apple-inflected fruit and earthy notes seem perfect to me for the foods of autumn. In other words, it’s a perfect wine for mushroom risotto, roasted butternut or acorn squash, pork chops with apples, turkey, even (though the stuff is set to jump the shark any day now) kale.
Chenin originates in France’s Loire Valley, where it’s the grape of the great wines of Vouvray and Savennières. It also has made a home for itself in South Africa, and there’s a small coterie of California wineries that specializes in it. It can be crisp and vivid or full-bodied and lush depending on where and how it’s grown, but in general it always manages to provide an appealing balance between fruity and savory flavors.
Here are five good examples to check out, now that November is upon us.
2011 Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc-Viognier ($14)
2011 L’Ecole 41 Chenin Blanc ($15)
2010 Marc Brédif Vouvray ($20)
2011 Domaine du Closel La Jalousie Savennières ($23)
More from Food & Wine:
© 2011 American Express Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved.
« Previous entryNational cappuccino day