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Château de Brézé has a long and storied history, first being mentioned in texts in 1068, lauded by King René of Anjou in the 15th century and served at all the royal courts. In 1957, when the AOC of Saumur Champigny was established, the owner of Château de Brézé refused to be part of the appellation, saying that his estate's vineyards were the best and deserved an appellation all their own. And he was probably right. Unfortunately, the wines from those exceptional vineyards were terrible. Lucky for us, the winery sold in 2009 to Le Comte de Colbert, who recruited Arnaud Lambert from nearby Domaine de Saint Just to make the wine. He changed the vineyards over to organic farming and began producing truly stellar wines worthy of their source. The 2012 Château de Brézé Clos David is all estate-grown Chenin Blanc raised in stainless steel to preserve freshness. It has the slightly-oxidized note of a great White Burgundy and a lovely richness that allows it to pair with a variety of foods.

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Thursday
Sep162010

Food-Pairing Friday: Indian Sweet & Sour Chickpeas

Photo by Matt Wright of the blog WrightFood.

Some people consider a juicy hamburger comfort food. For others it's mac and cheese. For me, it's a spicy plate of Khi Mao, Thai drunken noodles, fostered over two long years working at a noodle house in graduate school. For my British friend, writer Matt Wright of Wrightfood, it's anything Indian (as long as it's good).

The thing about comfort food is that it's just as satisfying emotionally as it is culinarily, sometimes even more so. It evokes memories of easier times, eases stress and fortifies you in the face of obstacles. Which is why I loved Matt's recent Indian Sweet and Sour Chickpea and Spinach Roti recipe, inspired by his wife's recent stint as a vegetarian. If the biggest trick of a meatless main is leaving out the meat and still feeling sated, then Indian food, with its layers and layers of flavors, is the false bottom hat. The added warmth of ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cumin, coriander and clove, and the hardiness of the chickpeas, make for a welcome addition to any Meatless Monday recipe roster, even for those of us who fell off the vegetarian wagon long ago (and whole hog, as it were).

With such a complex, spicy and savory dish, I immediately think of Kabinett level Riesling for a pairing. A current favorite is the 2008 Dr. Heyden Oppenheimer Kreuz Riesling Kabinett ($12.99). Slightly advanced for a 2008, it's perfect for drinking right now with its intoxicating secondary petrol, citrus and stone fruit notes. In the mouth, it's appley and fresh, with racy acidity and peach nuances. Do not fear the tiny bit of residual sugar here, it will be whisked away by the tangy tamarind and tongue-tingling spices. In fact, a fully dry wine might get lost in the dish, but the Heyden skips alongside it, fingers intertwined like childhood friends.

Leah Greenstein

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