Saturday, July 30, 2005

Summer Fun and Paumanok Vineyards Chenin Blanc 2001

Recently, my sister Claudia came down from Massachusetts with her two children, and my other sister Leigh also joined us. Along with my wife and children, all of us spent a glorious day at Avon-By-The-Sea, New Jersey. The sun was a beautiful periwinkle blue, and the water was a light green, and very clear, and the waves were brutal and fun. We body surfed, boogie-boarded, ate French fries and walked the boardwalk. A marvelous day.

For dinner, we went to a little restaurant called Bella Cucina, in Freehold. Luella, the owner, made us a dish to start off with that comes from a small town north of Naples. She cut pizza dough into small triangles, and fried the dough, and then placed the pieces, still hot, in a large bowl, and then covered it, not too heavily, with diced tomatoes, onions, basil, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. We tossed it like a salad and ate it like it was going out of style.

And we washed it down with a wonderful, lemony white wine from Paumanok Vineyards. Their Chenin Blanc 2001 is fantastic. But don’t just take my word for it…see what the professionals have to say about this wine.

“Chenin blanc, long a Paumanok specialty, is a perennial favorite of mine,” wrote Howard G. Goldberg, of the New York Times on April 3, 2005. “The bracing, aromatic 2004 ($25, only 180 cases) resembles a Loire Vouvray from a cool year. Densely flavorful, it has herbal accents and a mouth-watering acidity that is ideal for seafood.”

“The Oyster Bar at Grand Central prevailed on us to sell them some,” Mr. Massoud told Mr. Goldberg. “Thereafter, we took it off the wholesale market as we will not have nearly enough to sell in our tasting room.”

Newsday Long Island wine expert Peter M. Gianotti also gushed, on May 1, 2005, “The 2004 Paumanok Chenin Blanc is balanced, refreshing and fruity white, with typically fine acidity. It has the qualities of an easygoing Vouvray and pairs neatly with raw or cooked shellfish and with simple pork and chicken dishes.”

No matter what, no matter the time of year, whether it’s oysters, clams, or any other kind of shellfish, raw or cooked, or with light salads or soups, this Chenin Blanc is incredible, whether your drinking wine from the east coast, California, Europe, or anywhere else. You’re missing something if you’re not tasting this.