You would think a guy who wrote a blog called Sparkling Vouvray for the past six years would have numerous posts about what inspired him to explore the world of wine and write about it. And, to my eternal embarrassment, you'd be wrong. While there has been no shortage of prose about sparkling wines here on the Foodista blog and my own personal site, nary a sparkling Vouvray has graced one published (web) page. Until now. Where is Vouvray? What is Vouvray? It's a wine region in France's Loire Valley producing a range of white wines made from the Chenin Blanc grape. Let me backtrack a bit and let you know why I love sparkling Vouvray. The first case of wine I ever bought was a Vouvray with fairly significant bottle-age on it. I discovered it at a Slow Food event in Chicago, and was astounded to find out that it was not only eye-opening but affordable. I had to buy some! Shortly thereafter, I went to the source to see Christopher* at his wine shop with the name I'll never forget: The House of Glunz. Can you think of a more intimidating-sounding name? (It's pretty intimidating-looking, too: lots of dark wood, dim light, and antique-shop feel.) But he was gracious, friendly, and helpful; I left, case in tow, beaming. Many of the bottles were sublime, some were over the hill (I was fully aware of the possibility), but overall it was an incredible experience to try multiple bottles of a well-aged, classic white wine. So I was pretty surprised to encounter not too long thereafter a sparkling Vouvray. I had no idea you could make a sparkling Vouvray! And while I enjoyed the brooding, aged Vouvray, the sparkling version was a 180 degree shift: youthful, lively, and exuberant. This is a testament to the versatility of Chenin Blanc: the wines of Vouvray can be dry, off-dry, sweet, or sparkling. For the next few years a birthday or any other celebration was not official without a sparkling Vouvray. It's also a hell of a deal as you can usually find bottles for around twenty bucks; the Loire Valley in general is a great source for some true sparkling wine gems at decent prices. So while I may have neglected you, sparkling Vouvray, you were always near and dear to my heart. You made me who I am! So have you had any experiences with wine (or food) that were a revelation?
*Another story about Christopher: I had a $100 gift certificate and told him to pick out a red and a white that he would choose for himself. I got a Joly Savennieres (dry Loire Chenin from a maverick producer) and a Cote Rotie (Nothern Rhone Syrah), which must have provided the impetus for me to love and seek out the unusual and unique.