Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Shenandoah Blanc

Although there were rumors of thunderstorms, today ended up a nice, warm and sunny day - the perfect kind of day for an after-work "summer wine". This "Shenandoah Blanc" from Shenandoah Vineyards fits the category perfectly. To me, a summer wine needs to be light (light- or medium-bodied), crisp, and slightly sweet, preferably with floral or tropical fruit notes. Somehow, I think Virginia wines know that, since several Virginia whites seem to fit this description. This has lead me to the theory that it is often best to try to "drink locally", if at all possible. Local wines just seem to "fit" that region's climate, or the mood that climate puts you in, or probably both.

I certainly wouldn't want to *exclude* wines from other regions - after all, finding a great wine from a new-to-you region is part of the fascination. But there's definitely a connection between where you live and what you eat and drink, and doing both locally when possible makes you feel a little more rooted in the now. I never used to be a white wine person - while living outside of Santa Barbara, CA, I fell in love with the Rhone-style blends that absolutely thrive in that area. After experiencing my first DC summer, I'm gaining an appreciation for the valuable role the whites (and rosés) can play...

Anyway, back to the wine - the Shenandoah Blanc has a slightly greenish straw color (as you may or may not be able to tell from the picture - I'm beginning to learn how much of an art photographing something so simple as a bottle of wine can be!). It has a pleasant nose, slightly sweet and perfumy. This gives way to a much crisper taste than you might expect yet with the hint of sweetness, like biting into a green apple. The flavor is rounded out with tones of citrus and honey. I appear to have misplaced our tasting notes from the winery visit (we stopped by over Easter Weekend), but I'd guess this wine has a fair amount of Sauvignon Blanc, and probably that perennial Virginia hybrid, Vidal Blanc. And at just $10/bottle, this makes for the perfect summer sipper.

Some of you may wonder about the wine glass shown in the picture - not exactly elegant stemware, eh? Well, remember those cute wannabe-winery dogs (Owen & Iris) from by previous post? Their tails are the natural predators of the elusive wine glass. One misplaced wag can send several of these often coffee-table dwelling glasses flying across the room to their doom. Not so with these beefy wine glasses though - there's just enough weight in the oversized stem and base to give the glass a fighting chance to shrug of an indirect hit from an excited border collie tail. And even if they do take a fall, they're likely to remain on the table rather than becoming a carpet-destroying projectile of red wine and glass. So, they may look a little funny, but these Crate & Barrel Viva wine glasses are really a wine-and-dog lover's dream (oh yeah - they're also completely dishwasher friendly!).


winedeb said...

Hi Nate - Am enjoying your posts on the Va. wineries. I am headed up to Ohio, greater Cincinnati area, next week for a spring visit with family and friends. I am hoping to do a tri-state winery tour while I am up there and you really have inspired me on this idea! And, being on the mainland for awhile I get to shop at real wine shops and pick up some of the wines everyone has been blogging about. Thanks for the suggestions from your posts!

Nate said...

Hi Winedeb,

Always nice to escape Key West paradise for a bit of a change, eh? What would be the "tri-states" that you'd tour? I have very limited experience with them, but I hear that Ohio and Michigan are starting to produce some nice wines. Would you also try to inlcude PA then? I assume VA would be a bit of a drive, but I could suggest a couple of NW Virginia wineries in case you wanted to try to make it down that way!