I love it when a wine surprises me. I drink a fair number of wines which don’t surprise–and *safety* (sub-plot: typicity) is a welcome item in a lot of cases. For example, a light, see-thru Pinot so immensely packed with concentration you can’t believe WHERE it’s all coming from! With whites, color is not so much a deciding factor: sure, deep golden wines will evoke fore-shadowing different than canary-clear ones, but that usually has to do with age. By-and-large, I’m talking about normal whites which take you places in the glass you didn’t expect. This is one of those wines.

Watery clear yellow in the glass, a nose packed with honey and cinnamon and lush wildflower. It’s creamy and concentrated to smell: a lavish overlay of decadence nearly impossible to pin-point. Chamomile and raspberry leaf–again with honey–all laid down on soggy nectarine and plum.

Then you taste it, and the world explodes in acidic grandiosity. With that bite comes layer upon layer of modest fruit, the sums of which poke at receptors stunned speechless by the wash of beauty. I’ve often said Chenin delivers what Chardonnay promises–insert obligatory eye-roll, of course–and here we have a serious contender in those seemingly irrational sweepstakes. Thick and unctuous on the palate, but mercifully held aloft by gossamer shrieks of sweet acid. You reach for another sip, plowing through the not-too-tart apple and pear. Lilikoi and lychee–things I typically reserve for Gewurtz–make proud appearances, the whole thing cat’s-tongue soothing and peach-fuzz ticklish. Obvious tannin appears, casting sultry bitter on all screens but the pure luxury never dwindles in the finish. A ridiculous wine–plain and simple–and though the price would dictate otherwise: ageable for well over a decade.

2021 MARY TAYLOR ‘Anjou Blanc’ Chenin Blanc St Jean des Mauvrets Anjou Loire France 12.5

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