Malcolm Jolley finds a fun weekend white at a forgiving price…

An oenophile I know worked on a philanthropic project with a very wealthy man. The two got along and became friends and one weekend the oenophile was invited to stay at the magnate’s country house. At dinner, on the evening he arrived, the oenophile was delighted to see laid out a Grand Cru Bordeaux from a famous house and a legendary vintage. It was the kind of sought after wine that it could become the centre of a story. Excited by the wine, and so pleased to be able to taste it at his leisure, the oenophile confessed to me that he had a hard time following the conversation. The next day he was surprised to see the same wine laid out at lunch, and then again at dinner. By the third day he realized that this was simply the house wine at the estate and as grateful as he was for every glass he was poured he said he found it kind of sad that tasting it had become routine.

There are many lessons to be learned from the oenophile’s story, but the one that resonates for me is not that there can be too much of a good thing but that let’s try and enjoy all good things, like a well made wine, whether it’s a Grand Cru or fun everyday refresher like the Gabriele Meffre St. Vincent Côtes du Rhône Villages 2019 ($16.95 | LCBO# 17890). Meffre is a large negociant based around the Rhône Valley and this is their mid-range basic white, though it’s not really basic at all in the glass. From Roussane and Viogner come white flower aromatics on the nose, and from Grenache Blanc and Clairette come a Provençal fruit salad: peaches and pears with slightly bitter grapefruit finish. All of this is tied up with crisp line of acidity and a good glycerin weight in the mouth. If we were allowed to have parties, I’d say this would be a good party wine because it’s round enough to hold up without food, and versatile enough to adapt to a mix of snacks. In this way, it works well as an aperitif, but the acidity also qualifies if as food friendly. I imagine pairing it with eggs for dinner: an omellette or quiche and a green salad. At $17 this humble Côtes du Rhône is certainly worth a try.

Click here to find the wine at the LCBO. Click here to visit the producer’s website.