What To Drink When Your Wine Cellar Floods | The Jewish Week | Food & Wine

What To Drink When Your Wine Cellar Floods

What To Drink When Your Wine Cellar Floods

The Chenin Blanc is refreshing and easy to drink.

It’s good to keep a boxed Chen(in) Blanc on hand for housekeeping disasters.

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One of the hazards of being a wine critic is that, at any given moment, one has far more wine on hand than can be safely enjoyed.

Let me paint the scene. First there is the wine one has accumulated in the course of discovering good to great wines, and then there are the review samples that pile up, awaiting an organized tasting for possible inclusion in this column or some other wine article. The cellar begins with terrific organization, but starts to show gradual signs of encroaching entropy for a myriad of stupid, entirely avoidable reasons. Introduce two very young children into the picture, and one’s wine consumption decreases precipitously. Likewise, one’s social calendar quickly shifts from witty, repartee-driven, wine-lubricated, intellectual salon-style gatherings, to baby and toddler playdates. Oddly, these involve much less alcohol. Odd, because much more alcohol, rather than less, is what is actually desired by nearly every parent present.

Add a touch of “creative” disorganization, a sprinkling of absentmindedness and occasional periods of languor with a whiff of ennui to the cellar management and things start to go pear-shaped rather badly. Add to this picture the occasional bout of obtuse single-mindedness in pursuit of a real wine “bargain,” and one’s cellar quickly becomes a veritable Aladdin’s Cave of wine treasures, and avoidable pitfalls. This is all, in the big scheme of things, still more pleasure than pain.

Until, of course, that horrible moment — encountered just hours ago at this time of writing — when one descends to the basement cellar, steps amongst the bottles and boxes to poke around for a choice bottle, and instead encounters the slightly squishy and entirely unwelcome sensation of water beneath ones feet.

Not flooded basement standing water, but rather just enough of a pool of water — still of unknown origin — to do some significant damage to the boxes, and other odds and ends that had the misfortune to have been resting on the floor. In the course of having to clear everything off the waterlogged surface, one discovers any number of lovely wines that really do need drinking up, and a few that might be teetering on the abyss. At the first major pause in this activity, after having already shifted 150 or so bottles from one resting place to another very temporary one, the mind tends to focus very squarely on fatigue. So rather than sitting down to enjoy this or that treasured bottle that needs drinking, I am instead clearing the mind with a healthy glass of a really enjoyable, refreshing kosher box wine that I happen to have in the fridge:

Chen(in) Blanc, Baron Herzog Wine Cellars, California, 2014 (1.5 liters; $16; also available in 750 ml bottle format at around $10; OU certified, mevushal). Sourced from Clarksburg grapes, but made in a different, drier style from the more familiar Baron Herzog brand of Chenin Blanc, this is bright, crisp, frisky and fruity yet dry with simple, pleasing aromas and flavors of green apple, honeysuckle and sweet grapefruit. Eminently enjoyable.


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