06 Monkey Bay, New Zealand Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
There's a gully right behind Notre Dame where the markets get started early every summer morning. And they're empty because you woke up late and it's noon and nothing's open but--because the whole city's on its ritual siesta. So you grab your groceries, wind down the road, until you can smell the lavender flowers blowing in from the Tuilieries, and sit--sandwich and cheap sauv blanc in hand--to watch the river flow. It smells salty, even though you're miles from the sea, but that could just be the crunchy fleur-de-sel kicking up from your baguette. When all is so perfect you could snap a picture with your cell phone and Flix it to your friends around the world, you're startled by the loud tugging sound to your right. Looking up, you see the garbarge barge making its twice-daily run along the river, carrying with it the empty bottles of Heineken, cans of Kronenberg, and packets of Gauloises you guarded drunk the night before in the Latin Quarter when you said you'd die in Paris. And you see that even the prettiest flavors, like the pineapple and gooseberry that come off this Monkey Bay sauvignon blanc, are fleeting. Delicate and even provocative at times, but really just routine. As authentic as they are fake. Always remembered, but rarely revered. The Monkey Bay works because sauvignon blanc works. It's a delicious grape. But this wine does little to accent it, giving us all the requisite tastes, but nothing more. You can can chug it down, take a bite of your sandwich, and dip your toes in the water if you'd like. But look up, and you'll just see the garbage floating off into the distance.