April 2018 - Page 2 of 6 - Please The Palate
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A few weeks ago, on a warm Los Angeles day, I opened up the Monte Xanic 2016 Sauvignon Blanc from the Valle de Guadalupe in Baja, Mexico, and was immediately was taken back to the first time I visited the region. I recalled standing on the deck of Monte Xanic on a hot summer day, looking out at the spectacular view of the Valle de Guadalupe. It was my first trip to Valle de Guadalupe and I was in awe of the modern winery that sat in the middle of the rustic valley. The Monte Xanic 2016 Sauvignon Blanc is a straw gold color with a green tinge. Tiny little bubbles show the youthfulness of the wine which looks like it is jumping within the glass. Putting my nose to the glass, fruit aromas rush to the front. We are not talking New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with strong aromas of gooseberry and green grass. Rather, citrus notes such as lemon and passion fruit and tropical notes such as pineapple are all in the glass, as well as a sour-patch character. On the palate, the wine is subtler. It fills the palate and coats the tongue with notes of sour lemon. There is medium acidity and a medium finish. But just when you think you have finished tasting the wine, your mouth will water, and you will want another sip.
There are dozens of movies in which drinking wine or making wine are a central theme. There are comedy-dramas, buddy-movies and romance movies about wine. Often how wine is portrayed it not realistic and misleading. There is the fantasy of living on a vineyard, the romanticism of falling in love in a vineyard, the comedy of wine tasting with friends. But very few portray the reality of life on a vineyard, the challenges winemakers face, combined with their passion. The new film Back to Burgundy, a French film by acclaimed director Cédric Klapisch, is all of that and more and that is why it is the Please The Palate pick of the week. I love a movie that engages me, that tells a good story and develops characters that I care about. Add to that a beautiful backdrop and Back to Burgundy is all that and more. So much of the writing that I do is sharing the stories of people in the wine industry. I meet winemakers around the world and many, especially from European countries, are the third, fourth, fifth, six, seventh, or even more, generation in their family to make wine. They share stories about the land, the place, their families, their histories and their futures.
If you have only one day in Santiago, what is the best way to see it? A food tour where you walk through the city, visiting markets, restaurants, street vendors and get an introduction to the culinary culture of Chile. After all, food is something that we all share. It is a way to look at the world. Food is a way to get to know another culture. Our guide was Colin Bennett, an American who lives in Santiago. Originally from the mid-west, Colin came to Chile to teach English and ended up staying. About eight years ago, Colin started FoodyChile. We met in the Plaza de Armas in the center of the city. A map lies in the ground in the center of the plaza showing the now dry Rio Ma Pocho that runs through the city of Santiago. Colin explained Chile's history to us, from the indigenous Ma Pocho who gathered foods like shellfish, pinenuts, beans and mushrooms to ingredients brought to Chile by the Spanish. We began walking and soon was in Portal Fernandez Concha. A hotel in the 1860's, today the promenade is filled with a row of hot dog vendors. The Chilean hot dog, with lots of toppings, is Chile's own national junk food.
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