I’ve always had a soft spot for Viognier, and judging from the popularity the aromatic grape is enjoying today, I’m far from the only one.
Viognier was once a common crop in Northern Rhône, but by the mid-1960s, because of its low yields and susceptibility to powdery mildew, it had almost disappeared. Thankfully, since the late 1990s Viognier has experienced a resurgence – and is now widely planted in the South of France and California, with new vineyards popping up in lands as distant as Chile, Argentina and Brazil.
On a beautiful day in late September my husband and I decided to take a little road trip to the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York. Although we very much needed a break from our relentlessly hectic schedules, the truth is that I had an ulterior motive: I wanted to taste wines.
Four wineries were on my list, and Hermann J. Wiemer was at the top. We had tasted their Magdalena Vineyard Dry Riesling at the notorious Terroir Wine Bar in Tribeca (New York) just a few weeks before. My wine notes read: “Wiemer. Must order.”
Instead of picking up the telephone, though, we jumped in the car.
As it turned out, we also got to meet Evan Dawson, managing editor of The New York Cork Report, whom I’d been following on Twitter. Evan writes an informative and passionate column about Finger Lakes wines for the notable online magazine.
“Come to Wiemer whenever you like!” he wrote me in an email early that Sunday. “I’ll be arriving at Wiemer somewhere around 11:00 this morning to help them sort grapes… I never cease to learn when my hands are stained with grapes.”
Most people can confidently pair wines with seafood, meat or pasta – but pairing wines with salads can put even an avid wine drinker in a quandary.
If you are stumped about what wine to serve with your salad, you’ll be pleased to know that many wines lend themselves beautifully to this more-often-than-not underappreciated course.
To me salads are an essential part of a daily diet. I cannot let a day go by without devouring a huge bowl of fresh greens, and you can be certain that I always pour a lovely wine to sip between voracious mouthfuls.
The salad that I serve most often, if not every day, is a leafy-green salad that’s always exciting because I make it with a wide array of seasonal greens. I serve it with either a classic aged balsamic vinaigrette or a more spunky mustard vinaigrette.
Riesling is widely considered one of the most food-friendly white wines, but that’s not the reason I thought it would go well with my sugar snap pea and pea-microgreen salad with ginger-curry vinaigrette.
It’s not often that a wine makes your taste buds do a double take while your brain leaps forward to grasp what just took place in your mouth.
That’s exactly what happened to me when I tasted Bonny Doon Vineyard’s 2008 Albariño.
On the nose, I picked up citrus blossoms and pleasing delicate green herbs. But this did nothing to prepare me for what happened when I took my first sip – a lime explosion! My eyes widened and I had to pause and let my brain catch up. Then I took another sip, and another. I was hooked.
The wine is crisp and bone-dry but beautifully balanced. The prominent lime flavors are reminiscent of mellow limeade and are followed by a hint of fresh ginger and even a bit of salt.