March 2010


You know F.K.’s Laws of Blogging, right?

1. Be honest.
2. Be fair.
3. Don’t be an asshole.

Well, honestly, I don’t want to be an asshole, but how can people be so abjectly ignorant of language, especially the language and vocabulary of their field?

There’s a recipe in the March 2010 issue of Bon Appetit, a magazine we cook from sometimes, that calls for a bag of frozen shelled edamame, “unthawed.”

Where are the freaking editors?

The word is “thaw,” past tense or predicate adjective, “thawed.”

“Unthawed” is a folk locution, a back-formation based on the mistaken notion that transforming an entity from one state to another requires “un-ing” it. Not so. Frozen is frozen; the act of unfreezing something, a TV dinner, a bag of edamame, a game hen, is “thawing.”

“Unthawing,” theoretically, would mean “freezing,” as in, “Man, it’s so cold outside that my hands are totally unthawed!”

Sheesh.

I’ve become interested in, not to say fond of, the sparkling wines of the Loire Valley recently. Early in January, on the 10th of the “Twelve Days of the Christmas” series, I featured the Chateau des Vaults Brut Sauvage, Crèmant de Loire; here’s the review. Today we look at the Chateau Moncontour Tête de Cuvée Brut Sparkling Vouvray. These are made in the Méthode Traditionnelle, that is, the champagne method of second fermentation in the bottle to produce the essential bubbles.

The color of the Chateau Moncontour Tête de Cuvée Brut, made completely from chenin blanc grapes, is pale gold with a straw-yellow overtone, and straw is an important signifier because there’s a dry, summery straw-like component in the bouquet. Aromas are rich and expansive, centered on stone fruit like peach and yellow plum, infused with camillia and toasted hazelnuts and a hint of sage, all lifted by a fresh yeasty element. This sparkling wine is quite dry, exuberantly effervescent and enlivened by crisp acidity that boosts flavors of roasted lemon and mango, couched in a texture that’s almost luxurious, toward a suitably limestone-laced finish. A sparkling wine of surprising substance and character for the price. Very Good+. About $21.

Moncontour is an ancient wine producing property. Caves were dug in the limestone hills here in the 10th Century. The estate was established in the 13th Century, and the chateau was built in the 15th Century. Moncontour produces other sparkling wines in addition to a range of demi-sec, sec and dessert wines, all from chenin blanc grapes.

William Harrison Imports, Manassas, Va. A sample for review.

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