Friday, May 15, 2009

Tax-Free Sancerre

My friend Pat drinks white wine exclusively. She says it’s because she develops an “instant headache” when she so much as looks at anything red. I imagine this can be a bit of a hardship, especially since her husband has a pretty spectacular wine cellar- mostly filled with great reds. But she doesn’t seem to mind very much –maybe because she has one wine that she particularly likes- Sancerre.

Now I realize it’s unfashionable these days to declare a fondness for Sancerre- it’s become the French equivalent of Pinot Grigio in some ways: easy to drink and easy to pronounce – and often priced excessively high. In fact, there’s something insiders call “the Sancerre tax.” And there are certainly there are a lot of pretty simple wines around (at ridiculously high prices) that would seem to warrant such scorn - but not at the Crabtree Kittle House in Chappaqua, New York. This is where Pat and I regularly meet– in part because they have a really good Sancerre by the glass. We sit at the bar (which is rarely crowded) and dine from the bar menu: small dishes of crab cakes and spring rolls and asparagus risotto, all paired with a glass or two of Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre.

Domaine Hippolyte Reverdy (also available in retail stores in limited quantities) happens to be a highly regarded Loire producer made semi-famous by importer Kermit Lynch who turns out a terrifically brisk, bright wine with citrus notes and a lovely mineral edge. It’s the Sancerre of choice for general manager and wine pro Glen Vogt, who likes to see people drinking (good) Sancerre so much he doesn’t even levy a “Sancerre tax.”

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