Monday, August 27, 2012

A Fancy French White Wine

We pride ourselves in enjoying good, everyday wine. But when special occasion calls for it, we feel we must step up and play with the big grapes. For Tina’s birthday last fall, we enjoyed dinner at Veritas Restaurant in New York City’s Flatiron District. We chose this restaurant namely because the wine menu was so extensive, and because the food menu features dishes comprised of locally grown ingredients. We were not disappointed. After a funny faux pas in which Tina tried to show off her wine skills to the waitress, and almost immediately learned she shouldn’t play in the Big Leagues - at least yet, anyway - the big wine book came out over which Nate and the sommelier hunkered and discussed various options for dinner. We’re not embarrassed to say, we chose the cheapest of the wines discussed, and it wasn’t even that cheap!

But the real excitement of the day was learning that the wine we’d chosen, at the advice of our server, happened to be the same wine most preferred by Chef Alain Ducasse for his “every day” wine. The 2008 white wine from Chateau de Bellet, we were told, would be similar to a Chardonnay, and was heavy enough to stand up to Nathan’s heavier dish, and Tina's light white fish. It was simply delicious, buttery and oaky and all that is beautiful in a French white wine. Whether that story about Chef Ducasse was fact or fiction, it was enough to prompt Tina to bring the empty wine bottle home as a souvenir of her birthday dinner.

Not only should you feel free to rely on the recommendations of your server, we have since learned that most fine restaurants never serve bad wine, so choosing the least expensive bottle is not the worst thing you can do. Considering the ridiculous markup on wine, we don’t feel so bad. Every time Tina looks at the bottle of Bellet, she imagines she’s hobnobbing with the famous French chefs of the world. We’ll let her believe that--for now, anyway.

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