Fri 10 Oct 2008
A filet of Coho salmon, sprinkled with salt, pepper and lemon juice, briefly sauteed and then roasted at 450 degrees, all this adding up to no more than about four minutes, so the fish is rare inside but not raw and slightly crusty outside. Kale sauteed with shallots and then steamed in white wine and agrodolce. (Yes, we’re all about omega-3!) Brown rice. A simple and utterly satisfying dinner.
With some trepidation, I opened a bottle of The Lane “Beginning” Chardonnay 2005, from Australia’s Adelaide Hills. With trepidation, I say, because the label description uses terms like “opulent,” “slippery and sensuous,” “evolutionary new style,” typical code-words, in my sensibility, for “over-oaked” and “undrinkable.”
Fortunately, the wine is anything but over-oaked and undrinkable; it is, in fact, not only compulsively drinkable but is one of the most elegant, high-toned, mineral-dominated chardonnays I have ever tasted. It’s like a great Chablis elevated to the nth power. The first impression is of steely leanness, as if you’re drinking cold metal. It’s amazingly clean, quickly turning floral, but in an austere, almost astringent manner, like some tailored cologne, and then it picks up notes of lime-basil and roasted lemon. As the moments pass, the wine adds some heft, a little fatness to its seductive texture, but it never becomes powdery or opulent, despite what the label states. It retains its ripe and blossomy nature — and there are touches of lime peel and crystallized ginger — but any stab at sensuous qualities is balanced by electrifying crisp acid and a limestone element that seems rooted in the very bedrock of the Cambrian period. This chardonnay, well-stored, should develop power and intensity for six or seven years. Bottled with a screw-cap for easy opening. Exceptional. About $45.
Imported by Tom Eddy Wines, Calistoga, Ca.