Monday, November 27, 2006

A Virginia Gem

Another Thanksgiving is behind me and there have been several lessons learned:

1.) Don’t try new things on big occasions.
2.) Only cook one meal on Thanksgiving.
3.) Serve aforementioned meal early in the day.
4.) A meat thermometer is very handy when cooking a turkey.

As you might guess from these pearls of wisdom, I cooked a turkey this Thanksgiving. Without providing all the messy details, I’ll say that it was a decent first attempt. Brining my very small turkey gave it some extra flavor and kept it moist, and my recreation of my mother’s stuffing recipe was quite good.

Regarding rule #2, I had the ill-conceived notion of cooking two meals Thanksgiving Day—lunch and dinner, with dinner being the feast. So I made shrimp and grits for lunch. The upside of this is that I know my girlfriend and her son at least had one good meal.

Since it was a special occasion and all, we enjoyed a glass of wine with our lunch. And what a wine it was.

I have been trying to find more East Coast wines at my local retailers (without great success I might add). It’s unfortunate that I can buy wines from Washington and Oregon all day long, but finding New York or Virginia wines is difficult.

A quick look at a U.S. map is sure to make you ponder the logic of this.

Anyhow, I did find a bottle of 2005 Horton Viognier Tower Series. Wow. Let me repeat. Wow.

I know Horton and I know their reputation when it comes to viognier. Ol’ Slick Willy even thought enough of it to serve it at a White House dinner. Dennis Horton has been knocking out world-class viognier for many years now.

So, when I saw the bottle in Total Wine, I wondered what I was seeing. Horton viognier for $12.99? Could it be true?

The label clearly showed the Orange County AVA. This must be a second bottling, I thought.

Wrong. According to Horton, this is the same juice that goes into their flagship bottling.

Just the nose told me I was about to drink some killer wine. The aromas drifting out of my glass were pineapple, tropical flowers and lemon. The first sip revealed all that and more. Rich with white fruit, lychee and citrus, this is viognier at its best—voluptuous, stylish, racy and seductive.

I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s the best white wine I’ve had in long, long time. For the uninitiated, I’d recommend you hunt down a bottle.

Trust me on this one.

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