Of course, you probably already understood and embraced this axiom as it applies to so many facets of our human existence, including (you guessed it) wine. And I am talking not just varietals, vintages, regions, appellations, vintners, etc. As you know by now my favorite vino facet is context, most particularly discovering and validating the interaction of food and wine, an endless journey if you keep an open and inquisitive mindset.
For example, it is not uncommon for a sales rep to drop off a couple of partial bottles of wine at the end of the day after sampling a handful of other accounts knowing that I would likely put it to the context test that evening. And so it was that I recently whisked two intriguing half-full bottles home to meet up with the evening's fare which turned out to be a delicious sandwich comprised of rare roast beef, tomato and avocado on firm mustard- and mayo-seasoned French bread.
This was likely only the second or third time I sampled a Picpoul de Pinet from the Languedoc region of southern France. Picpoul refers to the fresh bright white varietal of the region and Pinet is one of the Coteaux de Languedoc subdistricts. The Domaine Guillemarine 2010 ($15, 13.5 percent alcohol, screw cap) lived up to its "lively, fresh and fruit-driven" description on the back label and paired oh so nicely with the sandwich and earned a solid thumbs up with the accompanying French fries with ketchup as well as a sharp white cheddar nibble.
The red offering was Liberta Toscana ($20, 13.5, screw cap), a 2009 blend of 50 percent Merlot, 25 percent Syrah and 25 percent Sangiovese produced by Fattoria Collazzi. I have long established the food pairing versatility of creative and properly crafted red blends of just about all types, so it was no surprise when Liberta also rocked with said sandwich and proved a pretty combo with the white cheddar, although it came off just a touch edgy with the ketchup and fries.
And my love affair with Moscato was reinforced yet again when the Moscato Bella California 2010 bottling ($12, 7.0) not only scored with buttermilk-marinated, panko-crusted, pan-fried chicken breast on the first night, but also achieved special status with the wife's awesome French onion soup. Amazing what that open and inquisitive mind and palate can reveal isn't it?
And get this one. I occasionally pull a bottle of a wine that hasn't been moving to refresh my positive impression so I can begin to focus on it. I brought home the Artazuri Garnacha Rose 2010 ($12, 13.0, screw cap) from Spain. To my surprise dinner was all about ahi, as in fried won tons with ahi, wasabi and soy sauce, and slices of ahi dipped in soy sauce with sesame seeds. The bright, tangy cherry flavors of the rosé wrestled a bit with wasabi on the former but still ranked positive while proving just plain yummy with the latter.
George Edwards is the owner and operator of WineMarket in Pacific Grove.