Thu 15 Dec 2011
The series of “Damn, This Was Good!” posts focuses on terrific wines that made a great match with whatever we were eating that night. In this case, the wine was the Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis Réserve de Vaudon 2008; the dish was the Brussels Sprouts and Mushroom Ragout with Herbed Dumplings, from Vegetarian Suppers from Deborah Madison’s Kitchen (Broadway Books, 2005). Madison was the founder of Greens, the well-known vegetarian restaurant in San Francisco. (The book, by the way, is only six years old, and already the pages are falling out in droves; whatever happened to solid bookmaking?) Anyway, this is a deeply earthy, flavorful and satisfying meal that’s vegan without the dumplings, but those puffy, savory little pockets of dough add considerable flair and down-home goodness to the dish, which is wonderful chilly, rainy night fare.
With this recipe, Madison recommends “a New World Chardonnay with rich fruit and a little oak, from Santa Barbara …,” but I demurred and selected this Chablis.
The Drouhin-Vaudon Chablis Réserve de Vaudon 2009 comes from a 14.8-acre area in a biodynamic vineyard that lies between two Premier Cru vineyards. Fashioned completely from chardonnay grapes, as is the requirement, the wine is made in stainless steel tanks and ages “a few months” in oak barrels, according to the material I was sent. (A contradiction is in play here; the winery’s website says only stainless steel, no oak.) In any case, the wine offers a radiant medium straw-gold color with a pale green glow. A lovely expression of the chardonnay grape, this delivers pert, smoky citrus aromas woven with cloves, quince and crystallized ginger and high notes of lemongrass and honeysuckle. Crackling acidity and scintillating limestone-clad minerality greet the palate in startling degree, setting the stage for a lively yet serious and quite dry Chablis rooted in earthiness while it delivers rich roasted lemon and lime peel flavors at an elevated level of purity and intensity; the limestone and shale elements give the impression of increasing in size and extent through the long, artful finish. 12.5 percent alcohol. Drink through 2014 or ’15, properly stored. 800 cases imported. Excellent. About $27.50 but often discounted to $20 around the country. Chablis lovers should not miss it.
Dreyfus, Ashby & Co., New York. A sample for review.