Karen MacNeil, WineSpeed

Veteran wine writer Karen MacNeil shares insights with subscribers in her weekly newsletter, WineSpeed. Read excerpts from this week’s edition below.

Wines to Know

Champalou | Vouvray 2015
(Vouvray, Loire Valley, France) $20 (750ml)

Much of America has forgotten about Vouvray, which in the 1970s (along with Sancerre), was one of the most stylish white wines around. Top Vouvrays like this Champalou are making a comeback; and when you buy a bottle, you’ll see why. The wine (chenin blanc from 35 year old vines) is deliciously hedonistic—creamy yet infused with a wonderful saline minerality. The rich flavors are distinctive and cool—evocative of fresh apple skin and fennel. The Champalou family—Didier, Catherine and their two daughters—do everything by hand. This is artisanality at a fantastic price. (12.5 percent abv)  

90 points KM

Available at Kermit Lynch

Wine Question

Germany and Austria share a similar lexicon in terms of how their wines are categorized. Which of the following terms is unique to Austria?

A. Eiswein
B. Kabinett
C. Auslese
D. Ausbruch

Scroll down for the answer!

Karen MacNeil, WineSpeed-The Wine Clip
Verbatim

“Wine should look like its origins and have the guts of the man who made it… In my class, I want to see the landscape of the place I’m in.”

—Jacques Puisais, founder of the French Institute for Taste

Fascinating Facts

Taste That Sound

Did you know that what a food sounds like can also determine how good it tastes? Oxford University professor Charles Spence has shown that Pringles potato chips taste better if they sound noisier when you bite into them. Interestingly, he has also demonstrated that a person’s perception of how fizzy a carbonated drink appears to be can be modified by changing the fizzy sound. Perhaps that’s no surprise. After all, who can deny the charming hiss of Champagne being poured into the glass? Even the sound of a food’s or drink’s packaging can influence our perceptions of its flavor and quality. The pop of a Champagne cork? Totally appealing. So is the multisensory food and wine pairing of potato chips and sparkling wine. Opportunity knocks: National Potato Chip Day is Tuesday (March 14). Time to buy a big bag and break out the bubbles.  

Karen MacNeil, WineSpeed-Wine Words

Punt

The indentation found in the bottom of most wine bottles. The punt may be shallow or, as in the case of Champagne bottles, quite pronounced. The punt adds stability to the bottle by weighting the bottom and strengthens the glass at its weakest point.

Wine Question Answered

D.Ausbruche (the plural of Ausbruch) are high quality Austrian sweet wines that are slightly more opulent than Beerenauslesen. An Ausbruch (OWSH-brook) wine must be made from overripe, naturally shriveled grapes that may be affected by the noble rot botrytis cinerea. Ausbruche are a specialty of the eastern Austrian region of Burgenland. 

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