I love how wine creates friendships. I have made many great friends and wonderful memories (along with a few headaches) over a glass of wine and a meal. In fact, just the other day I was talking to my dear friend Douglas who is responsible for igniting my passion for great wine. He was a colleague of my father’s from the academic world, and aside from teaching me to play squash, he would also bring up the occasional French wine from his cellar and pour me a small glass. His passion for wine was contagious, and I loved listening to him wax poetic with each sip in his heavy Welsh accent. We spent many evenings with lots of laughing, and trust me, he has a laugh that could wake the dead! That was almost 40 years ago, and although I have only seen Douglas a few times since then, our bond of friendship is as strong as ever. In fact, he is going to read a passage at Vanessa and my wedding this summer.
I was reflecting on friendship when I read up on this week’s white wine, which it turns out is made by two winemakers from the Loire Valley who have been chums since elementary school.
Domaine Musset-Roullier Anjou Blanc 2019 ($23) Gilles Musset and Serge Roullier were neighbors, sat together at school, and both went on to work for their family wineries. When their parents retired, they decided to merge their wineries and combine their friendship and passions. Since then, they have been producing world-class wines that are now served in Michelin star restaurants around the world.
Their Anjou-Blanc, made from 100% Chenin Blanc, has notes of lemon zest and honeycomb (not sweet, but with that wonderful nectar perfume), and a spritely sea salt nature makes this wine so refreshing and wonderful to sip. I think the secret of this wine is the combination of schist, limestone, and sand the grapes are planted in. It is such a complex mix, you can just feel it in the wines. Enjoy this on its own on a hot summer day, or with a roast or grilled chicken with lemon marinade. Scallops and lemon butter would also be divine.
Next is a stunning Tempranillo from the Ribera del Duero in central Spain.
ValSotillo Crianza 2016 ($32) A wonderful sultry combination of fruit and earthiness, this wine tantalizes every part of the palate. It is aged for 12 months in both French and American oak-- a combination which imparts an elegance and softness that is expressed in its velvety texture. With notes of ripe raspberries, mulberries, and a hint of smokiness overlaying great structure, you cannot fail to just fall in love.
This is the perfect, decadent BBQ wine as it goes with just about anything you can put on there from burgers to steaks. What comes to mind is blue cheese crumbled on a burger, or maybe as a sauce poured over a juicy steak. My taste buds are tingling already.
With July 4th around the corner, and friends and families to entertain, I don’t think we could suggest two better wines to help make the day flow.