A couple of weeks ago I received my very first wine samples. They arrived unceremoniously with a sticker that warned, “Do not deliver to an intoxicated person”. I was giddy with the prospect of free wine, being taken seriously, and having a lovely picnic that weekend with some friends (that’s my friend Cammy in the photo below).
The weather hadn’t yet turned into the disgusting monster that ruins your hair within 32 seconds of stepping outside, raises your electricity bill, causes you to sweat profusely before 9 am, and abducts small children and the elderly. Ok maybe not the last part.
We picked a perfect spot in Central Park where we had a view of the shirtless masses sprawled across Sheep Meadow but were secluded and shaded by the canopy of a few perfectly positioned trees. Seriously, it looked like that Manet painting below except no one was casually naked or wearing a turban-y hat.
I was eager to pour the wines, carried from 88th and Broadway down to the Bethesda Fountain with a cold pack nestled between them, for my friends on this perfect summer day. The two wines were both Sauvignon Blancs from France.
The first one we opened, Le Jaja de Jau 2010 Sauvignon Blanc ($8.99) is from the Languedoc region and produced by a famed old estate in the region called Chateau de Jau. The name of the wine (jaja) is slang for the region’s everyday wines and it’s a wine that owns up to being “fun and youthful”. This seemed like the perfect wine to bring on a picnic with a bunch of young ladies who didn’t want to take anything that day too seriously.
To that end, it was perfect. It was juicy and full of fruit and finished with an herbal kick that made it the perfect partner to our green ambience. One of my friends loved it so much she spent the next weekend scouring her neighborhood wine stores looking for it.
The second bottle was a more expensive Pouilly Fume (still Sauvignon Blanc) from the Loire Valley (Le Domaine Saget Pouilly-Fume 2009, $34.99). Unfortunately, this bottle came with a cork and we were sans corkscrew. After ten minutes of trying to open it by banging it, tucked into a shoe, against a tree, we were obliged to ask the local restaurant for help.
This is one of those classic French wines – one that has legions of obsessed drinkers and has a price that reflects its quality. This second Sauvignon Blanc was a perfect example of Pouilly Fume with lively lush fruits and a pineapple-ish acidity that makes it sparkle on the tongue. It was a little more restrained, more sincere than the flirtatious “JaJa” and probably belongs on a dinner table more than a picnic blanket.
Sauvignon Blanc has never been a favorite and neither of these wines were life-changers for me to that end and if I have to be honest, I think I preferred the JaJa de Jau with its lowly price point and lack of pretentions more than the Pouilly-Fume. Both of the wines were the perfect pairing for that lovely day and if you’re interested in picking up either to try, head over to winesearcher.com – a great website that lets you type in the name of a wine you’re looking for and the zipcode in which you’d like to buy it.