“‘The time has come,’ the walrus said, ‘to talk of other things’.” For me that means it’s time to switch from my beloved red wines to the whites I try to drink during the warmer months. Now that summer is upon us I will try to drink more whites, like the Arcadia Sauvignon Gris and may even face off with a few Chardonnays. To kick this off I went to a white wine tasting with some of my girlfriends.
Organized by Istanbul-based British pub, Pubness, we were to taste our way through four different Turkish wines with French sommelier Jean Luc. Forty to sixty people were expected at this event but only nine of us came. While some of that may be attributed to flaky people this was also a day when Istanbul experienced a 4.4 magnitude earthquake, a bombing that killed 11 people, a bus accident that killed several more people, and severe weather. Given all that I’d say nine people was a pretty decent turn out. Apparently not for Jean Luc who, and I am not kidding, refused to go ahead with the tasting because he wouldn’t lower himself to speak to such a small group. The Pubness owners apologized profusely while Jean Luc sat at the back of the bar, wrapped in his own imagined superiority. We went on to enjoy our evening sans Jean Luc, spoke to Pubness’s bar manager about the wines we were supposed to have sampled, and had our own fun while loudly disparaging Jean Luc, his heritage, what his ego was compensating for, and pretty much anything else we could think of.
Jean Luc wankery aside, we begin this season of whites with the 2010 Arcadia Sauvignon Gris. A lovely person gave this to me as a gift for my house warning so I don’t know how much it’ll set you back. I found this an interesting if not exactly enjoyable wine.
For one thing it was a learning experience for me. I’ve never had a Sauvignon Gris before so imagine my surprise encountering it here in Turkey. The Sauvignon Gris grape is a pink grape which, at least in this case, produced a brilliant, clear pale straw/gold color. Most commonly found in the Loire valley, it’s usually labeled only as a Bordeaux wine as it’s apparently illegal to label it with the grape name.
|walnut tulum & chevre cheeses w/ lavender apricot jam
At first I had a hard time smelling past the oak in the Arcadia Sauvignon Gris to the fruit underneath but as the wine opened more I got some apple and stone fruit along with sweet spices and almond. The flavors were quite nice and paired beautifully with the walnut tulum and chevre cheeses that I had. Tulum seems to be Turkey’s response to Stilton, it’s got a very strong flavor.
While the flavors were nice enough where the Arcadia Sauvignon Gris let me down was the mouth feel. It’s very flabby. I got no acid at all from this and I wonder if the bottle had gone off. Have you ever drunk water that’s been overly softened? That’s what this felt like. I’ve never had such a flabby wine before and while I appreciate that I now really understand what it means when you say ‘flabby wine’ I will be more than happy to not ever repeat the experience again.
Speaking of flabby…’Jean Luc’ is now code for anyone being too pretentious, egotistical, self-important, etc., etc. The real shame of the evening was that for all the sommeliers trying to change people’s mind about the accessibility of wine and the poor imagine of the snooty sommelier many hold there is a Jean Luc perpetuating the stereotype. I am sometimes pretentious but I vow that when I get my sommelier certificate I will not be a Jean Luc!