There is SO much wine in the aisles of Houston's wine shops these days. From Spec's to Richard's, from Whole Foods toCentral Market, from the Tasting Room to my personal favorite, the Houston Wine Merchant, the number of choices on the shelves can be simply overwhelming -- even for a wine professional like me. Add shelf-talkers and neck-talkers to the mix, throw in some product placements and some impulse purchase items, and it's enough to make you dizzy.
Last week, when I was doing some last-minute Thanksgiving wine shopping at Spec's, aided by the Italian wine buyer there (look out for an upcoming post on him), I spied a bottle of one of my favorite Loire Valley, France whites, from a little-known producer, who rarely gets attention in the crowded field of big-girl-and-boy wines that the top retailers tend to push.
I met winemaker Thierry Delaille (right) a few years back when I tasted with him at a trade show in San Francisco.
He's a quiet, gentle man. When he speaks, his voice is confident but soft-spoken: He reminded me of the kid in the back of the class with his nose in a book; he doesn't raise his hand but when he's called on, he has the right answer.
Cheverny, the small village where he makes wine, is located between the cities of Orléans and Tours in the Loire Valley, France, where -- in my opinion -- some of the greatest values in food-friendly wine can be found today.
His classic Cheverny Blanc is made from a blend of Sauvignon Blanc with smaller amounts of Chardonnay: The Sauvignon Blanc dominates the wine, giving it beautiful aromatic character, while the Chardonnay imparts the lip-smacking acidity that we're always looking for in the wines we serve in our home.
At just 12 percent alcohol (I LOVE IT!), it paired brilliantly with some spaghetti al pomodoro that I prepared last night as part of my Thanksgiving recovery program.
You'll find it at Spec's for under $20.