Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Summer Wine & Italian Comfort Food

June 15, 2010

Courtesy Cork’ & Nathan Scherotter

With summer here, we always talk about what wines to pair with this hot season of the year. And while light, fun, crisp whites and easy-drinking fruity reds are normally the go-to during these next few months, at some point you have to sit down and switch it up a little. A long day out in the sun makes for a hungry, thirsty individual that just needs some gastronomic pleasure. Enter Italian comfort food – more specifically pasta!

Now we can go many different directions with this versatile grain. We can mix it with red sauce, meat sauce, and white sauce; with chicken, sausage, or various vegetables and oils. Pasta is filling, and when you want to lay back, relax, and replenish your system with carbs, it presents some awesome wine pairing options.

Below are some familiar Italian dishes along with the perfectly paired wine pick. Let the summer breeze blow and the good wine flow.

  • Scene One (not pasta but a great way to get ready for some):
  • The dish: An appetizer of prosciutto and melon
  • Ingredients: unadulterated! Cured ham and ripe summer melon
  • The wine: Here is a really fun and light appetizer that brings together sweet and salty, all wrapped into a delicious way to wet your palate. Like any good meal should start, some sort of bubbly will be in order. The Italian Brachetto d’acqui is one of my favorite ways to kick off a meal; awesomely delicious and a touch of sweetness. Good acidity and low alcohol here will go perfectly with the melon and most certainly will hold up to the procuitto. If you have any leftover after your first course (which is doubtful) it makes for a great after dinner drink too… [Read the rest at Cork’d]

Solid Advice to Follow for Planning Your Next Meal!

May 14, 2010

With kind thanks to author – Jon Troutman

I was recently out to eat at a restaurant in downtown New York City that inspired this piece. While the name of the establishment will remain nameless, I’ve noticed this particular restaurant’s downfall becoming a trend, sweeping across both Manhattan and the nation as a whole.

The issue that I’ve experienced is with the pricing and quality of wine lists that are completely out of line with the pricing and offerings from a kitchen. The following description of incongruity between food and wine is not unique to restaurants. This same principal should be applied when preparing a meal at home…

My friend and I showed up for dinner decked out in our finest jeans, t-shirts and sneakers. A casual spot, we were led to our table by an unkempt, disheveled looking teenager and presented menus and a wine list. For food, we had an assortment of gourmet dishes to choose from, including a “chicken cutlet sandwich” and a “cheeseburger with sweet fries”. Nope, these were not kids menus.

After a quick dinner menu perusal, I flipped open the wine list. With over 150 wines by the bottle and 20 wines by the glass, there was a major French influence to the list. The least expensive by the glass pour was a Loire Valley Saumur – priced at $11 per glass. By the bottle there were verticals of Dom Perignon and Opus One. Suddenly I asked myself, “should I be wearing a collared shirt?”

You wouldn’t serve Beluga Caviar with Lay’s potato chips for scooping, would you?

For that very same reason, you shouldn’t serve a bottle of 1990 Dom Perignon alongside Popcorn. The two may complement each other. In fact, the two might even enhance one another. Like your Uncle Charlie who always seems to have a gas-attack when company is around; it’s funny, it might even work in the right situation, but it’s just plain inappropriate… read the rest on Cork’d

Salavare Estate in New Zealand Starts Slow Wine Movement

April 13, 2010

I like this movement. It has the potential to do great things for people all around the world. Great things will happen when people slow down – I suspect research would show one of the dimensions of greatness is the ability to go slow – even when things are spinning out of control.

We all need to take a moment and feel what Steve Nathan from Salavare Estate in Hawkes Bay New Zealand is suggesting. Below are his comments from his web site and Facebook pages. While he specifically, suggests slowing down and enjoying all things Hawkes Bay – which we should do  – we can  adjust his suggestions and go exploring the fun regions around the world that produce food, wine and travel with sense of spirit and bring that spirit to our daily routine.

Thanks Steve!

Being small and relatively new to the wine industry has not stopped Steve and Bev Nathan of Hawkes Bay winery Salvare Estate trying to promote an idea they think will benefit both wine lovers and smaller “boutique” wine producers in New Zealand.

Since opening their tasting room at Bridge Pa twelve months ago they have been promoting a “Slow Down” theme through their Salvare label, which includes range of local Hawkes Bay wines and a number of food lines such as Olive Oils.

“At Salvare we believe in a slower pace of life, in taking time to enjoy the journey” said Steve ” We believe the same of wine, that it should be enjoyed, not consumed. Whether it be with friends or family, good wine, like good food creates lasting memories of shared experiences”

In addition to taking things more slowly, one of the key tenants of the various “Slow” movements, including Slow Food, is that we should “buy local and eat local”. That we should know where our food comes from including, where we can, the people who grow or make it. The Nathans believe we should add “drink local” to this mantra.

“We believe one of the best ways for the New Zealand wine industry to stay viable in the current climate is if more people drink locally produced New Zealand wine. Where possible from a small winery near them or where they have actually visited the winery or vineyard and met the people involved, rather than from some large, faceless corporate producer” said Nathan. “It takes times to do this, which is the whole point and if more people drank handcrafted wines from small producers they would also have a much more diverse wine experience”

For the Nathans the best part of being in the wine business is the fact that they get to meet the people who purchase their wines as they visit their cellar door on Ngatarawa Road. “We take time to talk them about how the grapes are grown, how the wine is made and about our “Slow Down” philosophy which people really appreciate. In fact lots of them like it so much they purchase one of our “Slow Down and enjoy the journey T-shirts”

So next time you’re thinking about stocking up your wine cellar why not join the Slow Wine Movement and head out to one of the small wineries near you like Salvare and “Drink local, buy local”

“At Salvare we… (read more)Mission:To get the world to Slow Down and enjoy the journeyProducts:

Salvare Wines

Hawkes Bay Viognier

Hawkes Bay Chardonnay

Hawkes Bay Rose

Hawkes Bay Merlot

Hawkes Bay Syrah

Olive Oil


Chardonnay Mustard

Manuka Honey and Chardonnay Mustard Vinaigrette

Winerax Modular Wine Cellar System

Origins of No Cookie Cutter Wines

November 17, 2009

Over the last few years I have been showing different small production Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand. Two wines were from different regions in Marlborough, the Golden Mile and the Awatere Valley. Another the Waipara Valley near Canterbury. All have different approaches in the vineyard and winemaking to include blending of Semillion, another high density vineyard planting and yet another the subtle use of barrel fermenting. All are produced in small quantities of less than 3,000 cases.

In New Zealand, wines like this are the minority in terms of total litres produced and the majority in terms of number of producers. About 87% of all New Zealand wine producers make less than 25,000 cases per year. This means the majority of wines found outside of New Zealand are from the bigger players, this makes sense.

Here is an exchange that took place in London that highlights why much of New Zealand’s wine never leaves the country.

“I also met 2 charming Antipodeans from New Zealand who were working in Bristol to whom I apologised beforehand about part of my talk re the additives in cheap New Zealand wines.”

Their reply was “Please don’t apologise. It’s a well known fact back at home that the cheaper wines are produced for the masses and the locals won’t buy it – so we send it over to you!”  You can read the full article here.

For this reason, it was not uncommon to hear  the phrase “No Cookie Cutter Wines”  because most people had and still have not been exposed to this side of New Zealand wine. So I filed the comment away for future use. At the same time there were many comments about wines from many places all starting to taste the same and it made sense to use the comment for a greater purpose.

Here are few writers who have used the phrase Cookie Cutter Wines to describe this category of wine. Alice Feiring, Frank Prial, Howard Goldberg, Eric Asimov, a web search will find more.

Today, we have a simple site with some guest commentary about wine. The site is open to those who have a story to share. With today’s changing flow of wine information, this is one more place to both contribute and find new and delicious wines. We will also develop the regional themes in the image below.

Include Your Story

New Video Featuring Croatian Wines

October 6, 2009

Croatian Wine Roads takes viewers  through Coastal and Continental Croatia, following the magical world of winemaking. Meet the people, the places, taste the foods and wine from this historic region

Franjo Francem, recognized Croatian enologist and young Croatian Wine Queen Nataša Puhelek, go on a four-seasons trip throughout Croatia. They’ll take you to most famous Croatian wine cellars and introduce you to secrets of winemaking.

Franjo Francem meets a well-known Croatian actor Igor Galo, who shows us “red” Istra – land of Malvazia, Muškat and Terran. This film presents you, in a unique way, the rise of wine production in Croatia and lovely scenery of the wine regions  of Franjo and Nataša.

You’ll have the opportunity to experience the meaning of the Croatian wine story. The film  “Croatian Wine Roads” takes you to a beautiful storyline of winemaking: from the first bud, paring the vineyard, green crop, to the first bunch, harvest, late harvest, frosty harvest and resting all the way to wine preservation.

More information about Croatian wine & all about exclusive wine package:

For more information please contact:

Mandrak Productions

Seth Godin on the tribes we lead | Video on

May 18, 2009

In this video Seth Godin talks about Tribes and how they create meaningful impact in all parts of the world. We have created the No Cookie Cutter Wines and related web sites for this purpose. To be a place where artisans and consumers can exchange ideas and experiences. And the magic that results from food, wine and friends.

The video is 17 minutes and I believe you will find it inspiring and will empower you with a sense of purpose. If it is related to artisan handcraft wine or foods or travel to special places, please share it here with other like minded people.

Organic wine & food matchin: Ca’ del Solo Muscat & Dong steamed whole fish

February 23, 2009

Randy Caparoso is an award winning wine professional and journalist, living in Denver, Colorado. For a free subscription to Randy’s Organic Wine Match of the Day, visit the Denver Wine Examiner.

Because something is happening here, and you don’t know what it is…

The 2008 Ca’ del Solo Muscat (Monterey County; about $18) is not just another pretty girl; as lightly sweet, delectable and fragrant a white wine as it is, blooming with notes of tropical flowers (jasmine and frangipani), lychee and white peppery spices (or as the back label describes it, with Nabokovan alliteration, “a musky, melodious, melon-like meditation on minerality”). It also ranks as another battle cry against convention launched by a winemaker who has done more than make a career out of idiosyncrisity – he has made a career out of turning idiosyncrisities into norms.

Ca’ del Solo, for those of you who’ve been around the block, used to be a brand, formulated by Bonny Doon winemaker (and “President for Life”) Randall Grahm, signifying Italian inspired grapes, wine styles, and yes, leetle girl labels. Today, Ca’ del Solo labels bear “crystalline” micro-snapshots of each wine, captured in their petri dish; connected to silver strings that make the crystallizations look more like floating ova than kids’ balloons.

Ca’ del Solo now also stands mostly for Grahm’s recent conversion, like an Kierkegaardian winemaker of infinite resignation, to biodynamic viticulture.

No matter how “loopy” anyone may say biodynamics – complete with the burying of manure filled cow horns in the vineyard, the spraying of herbal teas according to phases of the moon, etc. — can be, there could be no sobering a reminder of exactly why many of the world’s most respected vignerons have recently turned to the teachings of the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner than the news, reported last week in the Associated Press, concerning allegations of an “organic” company selling fertilizers secretly “spiked” with synthetic chemicals to CCOF certified farms all over California.

Kathleen Inman, winemaker/owner of Sonoma’s Inman Family Wines, wrote me, saying that “it certainly adds another ‘tick’ in the yes column of why moving towards more self-sustainable farming is a good idea.” Inman, who fashions her own liquid fertilizers from worm castings from a nearby worm farm, says “being biodynamic is ideal,” although for now, she is content to make do by supplying her own small organic vineyard strictly from resources she can trust.

Grahm, however, did not simply convert to the full-fledged self-sustainability of biodynamic viticulture. In 2004 he went so far as to divest his wine production company of his two biggest brands, Cardinal Zin and Big House, thus taking his annual production down from 450,000 cases to 35,000 cases (what he called “Doon-sizing”), specifically to finance the development of 120 acres of vineyards near Soledad, California into a 100% biodynamic farm. Ca’ del Solo, the name of the property as well as the label under which these biodynamic wines are being bottled, was certified by Demeter® USA in 2007.

As much as he loved sourcing forgotten, even “ugly duckling,” grapes up and down the California coast to make his Bonny Doon wines (such as his ground breaking, critically acclaimed Southern Rhône style blend, Le Cigare Volant, and his immensely successful Pacific Rim Riesling), Grahm says in the end it “wasn’t sustainable emotionally or spiritual for me.”

This is how Philippe Coderey, the biodynamic guru to whom Grahm turned to direct his vineyard operations, voices Grahm’s revised conception of terroir: “Most conventional wines are fruity… you can feel the fruit, and then, after that… nothing.” By eschewing chemical fertilizers and avoiding things like irrigation, however, the biodynamic grower “is training his vines to go deep into the soil.” Once vines are converted to biodynamic practices that establish a biological and, yes, even spiritual symbiosis with the soil, “you will find inside the bottle of wine the minerality that gives the wine complexity… you’re tasting not only the fruits, but also the soil.” Hence for Grahm, a more fulfilling, transparent sense of terroir.

Dong Festive Steamed Whole Fish

Enough verbiage, what can the Ca’ del Solo Muscat do for you? There is no less than three ways to enjoy this wine, in all its winsome, wise-crackling, perfumed precocity: First, utterly naked, as a well chilled, palate freshening apéritif. Secondly, poured over ice, upon which the wine’s mild sparkle perceptively sighs with pleasure, with a wheel of lime or sprig of mint to bring out the Muscat’s citrus zest and minty freshness of flavors.

Or third, to experience the full, dynamic food versatility of off-dry, buoyantly fresh whites like the Ca’ del Solo, with this recipe for Dong festive steamed whole fish, culled from Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid’s fascinating cookbook/travelogue on the outskirts of China, Beyond the Great Wall:

One 1½ lb. red snapper, cleaned and scaled

¾ tsp. salt 1 tbsp. minced ginger

2 scallions, cut lengthwise into ribbons and then into 2 inch lengths

1 red cayenne chile, seed and cut into thin strips

Generous 1 tsp. peanut oil (or vegetable oil)

5 or 6 Sichuan peppercorns, lightly crushed

To steam fish, you will need a 12 to 14 inch wide bamboo steamer and a wok with a wide pot with a bamboo or metal steamer insert. You will also need a deep heatproof plate (there will be some pan juices) that fits into the steamer and is wide enough to hold the fish (curve fish or trim off end of the tail if necessary).

Wash fish well and dry. Place fish on cutting board and cut 2 or 3 parallel diagonal slashes on each side, cutting down to the bone. Rub all over lightly with salt. Rub minced ginger into the slashes and into the fish cavity. Place fish on plate, and sprinkle scallion ribbons into the cavity and over the fish. Sprinkle any remaining ginger over the top of the fish, and then sprinkle on the red chile strips. Place the plate with the fish in the steamer basket or insert.

Place the wok or pot on the stove and add about 2 inches of water. Place the steamer basket in the wok or pot (make sure water level is below steamer), and bring the water to boil over high heat. Cover the steamer tightly and cook 10-11 minutes, until fish is firm and the flesh in the slashes is opaque and flakes when pulled with a fork.

Meanwhile, just before fish is done (at about the 9 minute mark), heat the oil in a small wok or skillet. When it is very hot, toss in the Sichuan pepper, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Uncover the cooked fish and pour the hot oil over it. Lift the steamer out and onto a work surface, then remove the plate from the steamer. Serve the fish on the plate, with its pan juices, hot or at room temperature. Serve with steamed white rice.

Final remarks: as with any recipe, you needn’t be slavish to this outer-rim style of steamed fish. In Hawai`i for instance, we typically add crushed garlic and rough cut sprigs of cilantro to our steamed fish, and peanut oil is usually sizzled with a dose of soy sauce. Either way, the Muscat’s peppery spiced, citrus fresh fruitiness is the ideal match; the sweetness balancing the chile spice, hot oil and/or soy to a tee, and the tropical flower and fruit qualities reflecting the gingery sensations and digging deep into the delicate white flesh of the snapper… a symbiosis of wine and food terroir!

Sippin’ at the Ritz

February 20, 2009

I want to expand No Cookie Cutter Wines beyond just sharing the stories from artisan handcrafted wine producers to include wines and wine events that give back to local communites around the world. Here is an upcoming event in Twin Cities that will be fun and good karma.

A Food and Wine event at the historic Ritz Theater to benefit Second Harvest Heartland food shelf.

Cat and Fiddle Beverage, along with some of the Twin Cities’ favorite chefs present an unforgettable night of food and wine.  Local chefs and international winemakers will be on hand, along with local wine professionals, to present the evening’s gastronomic fare. 

Minneapolis, MN     March 19, 2009 – Cat and Fiddle Beverage, a local wine wholesaler based in Arden Hills, is presenting an unforgettable night of food and wine in one of the city’s most interesting theater settings.  A number of local chefs will be on hand, preparing appetizers to accompany the international wines which will be poured from many exciting wineries.  Second Harvest Heartland will be the beneficiary of the proceeds, providing a much needed boost to area food shelves.

The event is a celebration of artisanal, craft foods and wines, and an opportunity to meet producers while being treated to tastings of their fare.  The featured wineries and chefs share a similar respect for tradition and local agriculture, in a way that is respectful of the land.  The majority of the wineries represented are smaller boutique producers and the chefs are those of restaurants who represent a marriage of local and organic foods. 

Some of the featured chefs include JD Fratzke (The Strip Club Meat and Fish, St. Paul), Hector Ruiz (El Meson and Café Ena), Jim Grell (The Modern Café), Stuart Woodman (Heidi’s) and John Hunt (Al Vento). 

Cost to attend this event is $50, with proceeds benefiting Second Harvest Heartland of Minneapolis.  We will also be collecting food at this event, so please bring a canned food item to the theater to donate.

Thursday, March 19th

Ritz Theater: 345 13th Ave NE, Minneapolis 55413

Tickets available through the Ritz Ticket Box Office: (612) 436- 1129ls, MN 55413

The event will run from 6-9 for the public.  Guests must be 21 years of age to attend.

For additional information (including promotional artwork and logos), contact April Torzewski at 651-785-3360 or at

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Organic wine & food matching: Marcel Deiss Engelgarten & saffroned chicken biryani

February 9, 2009

Randy Caparoso is an award winning wine professional and journalist, living in Denver, Colorado. For a free subscription to Randy’s Organic Wine Match of the Day, visit the Denver Wine Examiner.

In Alsace, a part of France full of famous rebels – like André Ostertag, Charles Schléret, and Zind-Humbrecht’s Olivier Humbrecht – Jean-Michel Deiss (right) has played the role of absolute pariah.

It’s not so much that he took the organically cultivated vineyards inherited from his grandfather, Marcel Deiss, and turned them into biodynamic farms by 1997. The domaines of Marc Kreydenweiss, Zind-Humbrecht, Ostertag and other top Alsatian vignerons are also farmed biodynamically. More than anything, what has rubbed colleagues and local authorities the wrong way has been Deiss’ total disregard of the sanctity of singular varietal bottling; for in Alsace, the finest wines have always been bottled by the names of the great grapes of Alsace – namely, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Muscat d’Alsace.

Instead, Deiss’ finest wines are bottled simply by the name of Marcel Deiss along with the names of their vineyard sources: such as the grand crus Schoenenbourg and Altenberg de Bergheim vineyards, and premier crus such as Burg, Rotenberg, Gruenspiel and Engelgarten. But no mention of any grape on the label.

Deiss himself says that a turning point was in 1993, when a Riesling from his Burg vineyard was criticized for not tasting like a “Riesling.” This prompted Deiss to not just remove the names of grapes from his single vineyard bottlings, but also to start planting as many as seven different varieties in his best vineyards (which, also unusually, Deiss harvests and co-ferments all at once). No more blind following of tradition, he has said, because of obligatory feelings. “I realized that the grape in a vineyard is an ingredient, but not a dish… it is wrong to transform the energy of a unique place into a ‘Riesling’… by having many varieties in Burg I am giving the terroir different letters so it can create sentences.”

Hence, no winemaker in Alsace focuses as much on terroir as Jean-Michel Deiss. As in our organic wine of the day: the 2003 Marcel Deiss Engelgarten (about $45), which is a field blend composed mostly of Riesling, Pinot Gris and Auxerrois. True to Deiss’ intentions, this white wine does not taste of any one grape; but rather, in the words of Deiss’ winemaker Marie-Hélène Christofaro (right), like a “filtering” of wine through the gravel dominating Engelgarten’s soil. Nevertheless, the nose is honeyed, suggesting ripe, juicy, white fleshed stone fruits (peach, nectarine and lychee); and a steely, austere entry gives way quickly to almost sweet, viscous sensations of the honeyed fruit, before finishing with a mouth-watering bang and emphatically stony, faintly bitter, citrus peel dryness.

Peculiar, maybe even strange… yes. Expressive and flavorful… ditto…

Saffroned Chicken Biryani

And you know what I love even more about the Engelgarten? This wine’s electrifying minerality and multi-grape fruit complexity make a match for dishes few other wines in the world are up to handling. No, I’m not talking Asian/fusion sweet, sour, salty, or spicy food sensations. I’m thinking specifically of dishes dominated by the flavor of saffron – that wild, indescribably pure, organic seasoning derived directly from the stigma of the crocus flower.

Of course, being a wine guy, I do have words for saffron. To me, saffon infused foods suggest sea water, citrus peel, burnt hay, roasted clove, warm humus, dusty velvet, sun dried fruit and sex. I know many people say saffron makes them laugh, and many others just smile. Me, I just get hungry, like for this Kuwaiti style dish of saffroned chicken biryani, adapted from Peter Mentzel and Faith d’Aluisio’s Hungry Planet:

2½ cups basmati rice

1 tsp. saffron, soaked 10 minutes in warm water

2 tsp. canola oil 2 medium sweet onions, minced

4 cloves garlic, crushed ½ tsp. fresh ginger, minced

1 whole chicken (about 4 lbs.), cut into pieces

salt (to taste) 1 tbsp. ground coriander

1 tsp. turmeric 3 tsp. allspice 2 tbsp. butter

1 cup plain yogurt 1 medium fresh tomato, diced

1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Optional garnishes:

1 medium sweet onion, minced (fried to brown crispness)

¼ cup golden raisins, fried

1/8 cup crushed cashews, fried

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted

Heat Dutch oven pot on stove and add oil; when oil is hot, add onions, garlic, and ginger, and sauté until onions are transluscent. Add chicken pieces, salt, coriander, turmeric, 1 tsp. of allspice, yogurt, tomato and lemon juice. Stir over moderate heat for 7 minutes, taking care to prevent yogurt from boiling. Add water to cover chicken, with salt to taste; cover with lid and cook at high simmer for 45 minutes. Towards end, preheat oven to 350°.

Add rice to pot with butter, saffron and remaining allspice; stir to combine. Cover pot with aluminum foil and pot lid, and cook in oven for 45 minutes. In meantime, prepare garnishes (fry raisins and cashews with onions). Remove pot from oven, stir to combine, sprinkle over garnishes, and serve.

Organic wine & food matching: Chidaine Montlouis & wild mushroom pie

February 4, 2009

Randy Caparoso is an award winning wine professional and journalist, living in Denver, Colorado. For a free subscription to Randy’s Organic Wine Match of the Day, visit the Denver Wine Examiner. You can reach him at

There’s a chalky flintiness everywhere in Montlouis, a long under-appreciated region in France located across the Loire River from the Vouvray AC; the latter better known around the world for its soft, flowery fresh, demi-sec (“half-dry”) styles of whites made from the Chenin Blanc grape.

Montlouis is also planted exclusively to Chenin Blanc; but because its best whites are probably its dryer ones, flinty or chalky sensations seem more pronounced in Montlouis; the understanding of which doesn’t require much of a leap after you see its whitish soils, which consist of almost no clay, but rather a predominance of silex (finely ground flint), sand and limestone.

Not to say that each sip of the 2006 Francois Chidaine Montlouis Clos du Breuil (about $23) tastes like wet rocks The terroir is a subtle undertone in this wine, which exudes more of a succulent, melony fruitiness in the nose, tinged with a wildflower honey, a whiff of bread yeast, and even tropical suggestions (like caramelized banana). On the palate, the honeyed fruit sensations mesh with a pointedly green apple tartness in a medium-full body, and the wine finishes as dry as, well, rocks.

If you take the trouble to seek out and appreciate this wine, you might go further and taste more of Chidaine’s cuvées (he bottles several each year, the Clos du Breuil from one of his oldest plots, and usually among the driest); illustrating what many connoisseurs believe to be as compelling a testament to the link between low-intervention, biodynamic winemaking and purest possible expression of grape and terroir as you can find anywhere in the world. Most certainly, the naturally perfumed character of the Chenin Blanc and the lime crusted quality of the soil contribute to that.

When matching food with such unique wines, I like to highlight the attributes, which also rounds them out. Because of the tartness, for instance, slightly sharp, earthy cheeses like fetas and chèvres make sense, smoothing out the wine’s sharper edges. If you choose a smoked chèvre, the smokiness plays up the wine’s flinty, minerally qualities, and you begin to better appreciate the complexity of good Montlouis (combining chèvre with, say, smoked salmon or wood grilled oysters would achieve the same effect).

When it comes to dishes: yes, saline flavored foods that like tart edged whites (oysters, crab, bouillabaisse, etc.) make sense. Or, you could emphasize both the flinty and fruity qualities of the Montlouis by this recipe for a wild mushroom pie; teeming with aromas of woodsy earth, while a creamy béchamel underlines the luscious, tropical notes of the wine.