Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Soucherie's 2000 Savennières Clos des Perrieres

Soucherie's 2000 SavennièresI can't get over how my friend Erin can't get over the notion that Savennières is, in Mike Steinberger's words, a wine like a cat. But then, I can't get over Savennières, period. Loire chenin blanc is one of my big touchstones so naturally Savennières is in turn one of my big touchstones. From these schist soils springs a wine like no other: expressive yet reserved, honeyed yet uncompromisingly dry, captivating yet not so interested in being caught. Like, um, a cat. Or as McDuff said, like The Fall.

More prosaically, a good Savennières has a strong personality but goes great with a wide variety of food. And if you give these wines the age they deserve, so much the better.

The 2000 Chateau de Soucherie Savennières Clos des Perrieres is a case in point. It's ready to drink but still very young. When I put my nose in the glass, there's a lot of there there, and yet the essence of the wine is elusive, just out of reach, mysterious. Sure, I could list all kinds of descriptors — cinnamon-dusted pears, honey-glazed rocks, strawberries wrapped in mint leaves — but that only gets me halfway there. It's likewise elusive if long on the palate: the mineral energy is terrific, the body is full yet precise, the fruit is chalky and lemon-tart and sweet, the finish is riddled with herbs like tarragon, but I cannot truly capture what it all means. It's strikingly pure, and I am shocked to learn that this was aged in oak, given its delicate force, its weightless weight.

I am not shocked, however, that this goes great with a spicy, turmeric-doused root vegetable soup, nor that it's a fantastic match with pan-fried cod seasoned with salt, pepper, and a healthy squeeze of lemon. I think I'm going to have to buy several more bottles so I can enjoy this over the next 20 years!

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