Some things just take time & convincing to get me into. I’m not patient so I usually end up just… avoiding them. Like Riesling. Everyone is the wine world loooves Riesling but I’ve had a really hard time finding one I liked. Which made me even more determined—I wanted to know what I was missing out on.
And lo! I finally got it thanks to La Boutanche, a wine label I’ve been crushing on for awhile. Made by the folks at Selection Massale, the line is all natural wines made to be approachable and affordable—all come in at under $20. And each wine in the line is created by various winemakers across Europe, which makes it super diverse but always super drinkable & delightful. These wines are just what you want, every time.
I wanted a minerally, crushable white that wasn’t my standard Albariño or Muscadet. And boy, I got it. This Riesling from Wurttemburg, Germany is so stony-cool, absolutely perfect for summer. It smells like a baby lime tree with just a hint of sweetness but there’s no sugar in the taste. It’s a pucker of green apple with some lemon zest thrown in, high acid and a thirst-quenching stoniness giving you relief from whatever ails you. This, I realized, was what I’d been missing about Riesling.
I kind of felt that way about Zadie Smith for a long time. Back when I was getting my MFA, everyone talked about her like a goddess. I’d read her essays and felt like I didn’t totally understand. Then Swing Time came out. Those little blue tabs at the top of the book are stickies—I ended up using this for my thesis on complicated female friendships. The story of the lifetime, rocky relations between two Black girls from the projects of London, both aspiring ballet dancers, only one of whom makes it, it’s the perfect portrait of that kind of devastating friendship when you know too much about the other to like them but still somehow love them.
And for this very cool wine, who else but Zadie? She’s one of the most calm/cool/collected writers around, and her sometimes withering (acidic!) prose reflects that. Measured but brilliant, she knows she’s sharp… kind like La Boutanche does.
Book: Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Bottle: La Boutanche Riesling 2018
Imported by Selection Massale, found at Vine Wine and Domestique.