Domaine De Pajot, Les Quatre Cépages 2013

France
$10
I’ve been spending more money per bottle lately. Now, either my tastes in wine have changed, or it’s the cost of living increase in the state I now call home. It’s possible that it’s both.

I do have to admit that the $8 a bottle target that I have imposed upon myself has been more difficult to hit since my tastes have grown along with my curiosity. I will continue to aim for $8 but it may end up more around $10, or $12. I just can’t be bound by the price any longer! Well, within reason.

Despite that, I will continue to strive for thrift AND quality.

That said, this latest bottle was a delicious $10 accident. I was returning home from “Mission: Kimchi,” having located a jar at the neighborhood Whole Paycheck, I mean Foods. Between the kimchi pick-up and home I spotted the cute little corner wine shop I only visited once before, Streetcar Wine & Beers, and thought, hey, what goes with spicy pickled cabbage? As one does. So I bee-lined it.

I narrowed my choices down to what was chilling in the little fridge at the back of the shop. The fridge was tiny. The choices in my price range made it easy, there was only one. Never heard of it, but it was chilled, dry and a curious blend of grapes I’d never heard of before, other than Sauvignon Blanc. Did I mention it was only $10?

Sauvigon 35%
Colombard 35%
Ugni-Blanc 20%
Gros Manseng 10%
Delicious 100%

Sauvignon I’m familiar with, but Colombard? Not at all. My google research turned out the following (please correct me if I’m wrong): It’s a French variety of grape with familial ties to Chenin blanc and the Cognac grape, Balzac blanc (who?!). And what about Ugni-Blanc? An Italian aromatic white grape primarily grown in France. Oh, and Gros Manseng? Yes it sounds like something grown in a mans nether regions if he doesn’t shower regularly, but what is it? A south-west dry French white wine grape sometimes translated as “Large Manseng” but rarely as “Big Manseng.” But does size really matter? I leave that up to you.

DINNER!

For dinner I was trying out a “grain bowl” recipe. I know, it sounds like something you’d feed to your livestock, but like me, you have the wrong idea!

Think bibimbap or some other delicious asian bowl of rice, protein and vegetables. This one was a brown rice/quinoa blend topped with kale, avocado, a soft-boiled egg, kimchi, scallions, sesame seeds and dry seaweed flakes. Spooned over that, a dressing made with soy sauce, peanut oil, sesame oil and fresh ginger.

Textures were all over the frggin’ place and each spoonful brought a different mix of them all. Crunchy, crispy — soft and warm — cool and spicy. It was a great big bowl of fun.

The bottle I picked out was perfect with that mess. The dry but lightly fruity wine had an after-kick that was good and stony with minerality and refreshing with notes of citrus. With the spicy kimchi and flavor-packed dressing it provided a good balance. With the creamy avocado and egg it was smooth, like buttah.

I need to go back to that wine shop, I’ll be buying more than just one bottle of this happy happy accident.

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