Loup de Loup
Chablis, an excellent springtime wine
For us, March starts with winter's plump oysters and goes out with spring's first greens. It's no surprise, given such a transition, that wine pairings can be confusing.
Enter the Chardonnay-based wines of Chablis, Burgundy's northernmost growing region. The ideal cross-seasonal sip, they're structured enough for winter dishes, but full of the salinity and brightness we crave when that warm breeze hits.
Lately, we're focused on one particular example, the 2011 Domaine Pattes Loup "Vent d'Ange" Chablis ($30 for 750 ml). Made by precocious young winemaker Thomas Pico, who recently converted a small plot of his family's vines to organic viticulture, it represents the birth of one of the region's rising stars.
The first sip reveals Pico's debt to natural-wine icons Alice and Olivier De Moor, his mentors, famous for making their own minimal-interventionist renditions of Chablis. But the wine exhibits a purity that marks Pico's fresh style. Dense orchard fruit leads to an interplay of chalky limestone and citrus, followed by Chablis' notoriously cleansing rinse of acidity.
Due to the estate's small production, quantities are limited. So we suggest stocking up now so you'll have it on hand to drink with the season's changing cast of crustaceans: oysters today, softshell crab tomorrow, then grilled lobster all summer long.