Sunday, November 30, 2008

Palate Fatigue

When it comes to red wine, my palate has been feeling a little weary. I drink a pretty wide variety of wine in general, and I enjoy them all for what they are. However, the red wines I've had lately seem to be merging towards one ideal: fat, plush, fruity...Parker wines.

I went to Total Wine and More the other day shopping for sparkling wines. While I was there, I went in search of something a little different – a red to snap me out of my routine. E was baking a goat cheese and prosciutto strata for dinner, and I wanted a red that wouldn’t overpower it.

I found it in Jean-Claude Bougrier Chinon Domaine De La Semellerie 2006.

This Chinon (cabernet franc is the grape) is bright and focused with lean cherry, herb and anise flavors with just a bit of earthy-ness. It was also well-balanced and very subdued, in the most pleasant of ways.

It was just what I needed. Enotheque has a very nice write up of the 2005 vintage, which is very enlightening.

Speaking of keeping one’s palate amused, I do tend to seek out bolder flavors in my food and drinks. I’ve satisfying my thirst for beer lately with Shiner Bohemian Black Lager, originally a limited release from the Texas brewery. It’s as dark as advertised with flavors of coffee and cocoa without getting overbearing and a nice nip of hops. I’m no beer connoisseur, but it’s pretty good in my book.

Our beers stores in South Carolina are loaded with new selections, as the local law keeping out craft brews has been changed. Old Brown Dog Ale from Smuttynose Brewing Company (New Hampshire) is another excellent brew I’ve been enjoying. I love brown ale and it’s nice to find something other then my usual English selections.

The Chinon was a great match for the strata, but I thought the other wine we sampled with our meal stole the show, Louis Bouillot Crémant de Bourgogne Brut Rosé. The Bouillot absolutely sang with the strata and our apple-bleu cheese salads. It's light and elegant, with notes of cherry, strawberry and fresh bread. It reminded me to serve more sparkling wines with our meals.

It’s good to mix it up.