Gros Manseng

by J.D. Roth

Kris’ parents were in town last week. While they were here, we took them to some of our favorite restaurants. (We didn’t get to Pok Pok — maybe next time.) On Sunday night, we dined at South Park for the first time in two or three years.

South Park has altered its menu a little since the last time we were there. There are fewer choices, but each one seems more interesting than before. They still have the paella, though, and so I ordered it. First, though, I had a plate of fruit and cheese. I asked the waitress to bring me a wine that would match.

She chose a 2007 Alain Brumont gros manseng/sauvignon blanc blend. No, I’d never heard of gros manseng, either, but I love sauvignon blanc. (It’s my favorite white.)


I took one sip of the wine and was floored. I’m not a wine snob, so I can’t tell you what about its nose and notes. All I know is that it was crisp and refreshing — perfect for a summer cheese plate. (The cheese plate was good, too.)

When the paella came, I was a little startled to see that it was nothing at all like South Park’s old paella. Formerly, it had been almost soupy. Now it’s dry — seafood and rice. Don’t get me wrong: it’s good, if a bit too laden with shrimp. (I only tolerate shrimp — I’d rather have more mussels in my paella.)

“Can you bring me a wine to go with this?” I asked the waitress. She seemed puzzled, so Kris said, “Just bring him another glass of that.” And she did. Yum.

On Monday, I did a very non-J.D. thing. I bought a case of the 2007 Alain Brumont gros manseng/sauvignon blanc from Liner & Elsen. The only case of wine I’ve ever bought before was three-buck Chuck at Trader Joe’s. I’ve never found a wine I liked so much before, though.

“I feel decadent buying a case of wine,” I told Kris.

“It’s fine,” she said. “You like it. You’ll have fun sharing it with other people. I think it’s good to buy a case because it saves you a little money.”

She’s right of course, so while I was at it, I also ordered a case of the Domaine St. Michelle blanc de noir sparkling wine, which Marcela and Pierre introduced us to last spring. That stuff is yummy, too.

Updated: 15 August 2008

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