07 Grochau Cellars, Columbia Valley "Z" ("L") White
If arugula made a wine, this would be it. Which is to say, it takes all that's light, lovely, and easy about the world, and adds a powerful punch. Fuck you, lettuce. If grass represents the sun, these grapes--either some hardcore stainless steel chardonnay and gewurztraminer or some incredible sauvignon blanc, I'm not sure--are a sunburn cooking on the bottom of your chin as you sleep. It's a pain that creeps on and peels off of you, and despite that splotchy, raw texture, reminds you only of the good times. I completely love this wine in every possible way. Its lean, tart fruit reminds me of peeling green grapes with my front teeth, eating Granny Smith apples through an open sore in my cheek. It's spring and fall, dandelion dust and crabapples, with the same dirty, slightly smoky finish as Bouelvard's seared foie gras. I'm headed to the market right now for chicken livers--pate is in my future. It might pair well with this, but the point really is that I'm looking for something to salt. John's glorious table white inspires me to season things. It's a salt-and-peppered green mango, a note that joyously comes out in the aroma every time I say it. Salt-and-peppered mangoes. It has the lychee fruit of gewurtraminer, the white pepper of gruner veltliner, the suburban apple of underripe-please-make-me-sparkling chardonnay. I don't know how these wines trade hands, but all I can think about is Avec--the best tapas restaurant in Chicago. It fits so perfectly with that open style--communal tables, stemless glassware, one hot freaking oven cooking pork, octopus, pizza, and short ribs. Oh for God's sake, get me there. Meet me there with a case of this wine. Dinner's on me. The wine will probably be as well. Whatever it takes. Let's forget about the great Basque whites. Anything from Spain. We won't need Loire anymore either. And I'm willing to put Champagne up for review, too. There's purity in this wine--a trait I value tenfold over any prestige, pricetag, or progeny. This is where wine comes from--not Grochau or Columbia Valley, but from this base style. It tastes like the beginning. Before you get science involved. Before you start thinking about oak treatments and Parker scores and your ridiculous adjectives. This is where you start with wine and if you need to go any further, you have far too much time on your hands.