Like a good wine, a good life has balance. The last four or five days, I’ve been off balance, focusing almost all of my attention on a single home-improvement task, while simultaneously neglecting family, friends, work obligations, and other important things. The task was building an 80-case rack in my wine cellar, that runs from floor to ceiling and spans thirteen feet. It is beautiful, and in the end, I’ll say that it was worth it, but it did come at a price. Last night, when the rack was built, I finally found time to cook again. It was an opportunity I was not about to miss.
The dish was a sort of pasta fresco I threw together with what vegetables I had lying around — fresh bell peppers, onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and asparagus, along with bacon and grilled chicken, all served over linguine. It was a new “recipe” (I don’t use recipes) and it was great to be back in the kitchen after a too-long hiatus; I knew this dish needed a diverse and food-friendly wine to compliment it. I chose this one.
The 2015 Grand Vin White from Chateau d’Angles is an exciting find for me. An intriguing blend of Bourboulenc (40%), Grenache (20%), Roussanne (20%) and Marsanne (20%), tremendous care went into the making of this wine. Winemaker Eric Fabre of Lafite Rothschild fame devoted himself to making this special, selecting grapes over a two-month period as they mature, barrel aging for half a year, and stirring the lees to add a gentle creaminess to the mouthfeel of a wine that is, in my estimation, part honeysuckle, part subtle stone fruit, and entirely wonderful. From its aromatic nose to the lingering sensation it leaves upon the palate, this is a food-friendly wine that’s built to age. If Fabre keeps this up, La Clape could easily become a household name even here in America. I highly recommend this wine for its beauty, diversity, and balance.
Balance: there it is again. Whether in wine or in life (difficult though it can be at times to draw a line between the two), balance is a vital element. Without it, we tip over, we go mad, we taste funky. I’m grateful to my father for helping to build that beautiful rack, and grateful to the team of men who came over to help me lift it into place. I’m equally grateful for good wine, and I’m most grateful of all for the chance to regain my balance this week, as I head into another daunting autumnal journey.