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A light to medium-bodied wine, the 2002 Henry Pellé embodies all the charm and virtue for which Sancerre and the finest Menetou Salon are renowned. Scents of gooseberry, grapefruit, melon, fig, and fresh cut grass gather in the nose, alternating like the tide on an outgoing sea. In the mouth, there is plenty of palate appeal, too. Loads of ripe citrus fruits and minerals mingle with the undertone of gooseberry to enliven the mouth. Light, but well-balanced, Pellé's Menetou Salon is pleasantly dry, without the acid jolt aftertaste of lesser Sancerre-style wines, which often seem more like shock treatment for the mouth than a cleansing, refreshing finish. Like most dry Sauvignon Blanc wines, Henry Pellé's Menetou Salon is best served chilled, but we suggest allowing this wine to warm a bit in the glass (until about 50° F) before consuming it, as the numbing effect of the refrigerator tends to temporarily inhibit the ethereal qualities of the wine, especially the aroma. Enjoy!
Almost every Sauvignon Blanc aficionado has a favorite accompaniment, which is testimony to the versatility of the grape and the myriad of styles in which Sauvignon Blanc can be cast. Nonetheless, it seems to us that the bright crisp tones of the 2002 Henry Pellé Menetou Salon provide the perfect foil for seafood. Grilled, broiled, raw or steamed, bring on the Menetou Salon. Yet, flavorful salads, lightly spiced Asian cuisine, and fusion inspired dishes also provide excellent accompaniments to Pellé's 2002 Menetou Salon. Some of our favorite offerings in this regard are Thai stuffed mushrooms, with minced pork, prawns, and cashew nuts; Tuna Tataki, lightly seared tuna dusted with seven Japanese spices and served with ponzu sauce; and Chili Lime Glazed Pork Tenderloin, a heavenly dish. Whatever you choose, the wine will go down easy.
Deep in the heart of France, along the upper reaches of the Loire River as it turns westward to begin its long meander to the Atlantic sits Sancerre, the spiritual home of Sauvignon Blanc. Here one finds the exemplary estate of Henry Pellé, one of the region's finest and most consistent producers. Sancerre has produced excellent, flinty-dry, herbal Sauvignon Blanc wines for centuries, but it was not until the 1920's that the wines of Sancerre and the surrounding area emerged out of the haunts of the best seafood restaurants in Paris and the realm of connoisseurs to gain international acclaim. It was no less than Ernest Hemingway who propagated the cult of Sancerre and immortalized what many have called the best darn seafood wine in France, and perhaps the world, by extolling its virtues in his novel The Sun Also Rises. While in France, Hemingway was reputed to eschew motor travel unless he had a case of Sancerre in the trunk. So much for the need for perfect storage: we can rightfully suppose that the case never lasted long enough to be adversely affected by the vagaries of heat or vibration. Although the secret of Sancerre and its twin, Pouilly Fumé, have long been out of the bag; their magical names no longer whispered in hushed tones, lest the mystique be lost. However, there remains one well kept secret in the area, at least until now, and that is the wines of Menetou Salon, a tiny viticultural region just beyond the Loire near Sancerre, which turns out small quantities of fine flavorful racy Sauvignon Blanc that is every bit as good as Sancerre and often better. Not surprisingly, Henry Pellé is the premier producer in Menetou Salon.
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