A recent trend in wine lists, especially in restaurants that offer new American cuisine, is an enthusiastic embrace of obscure wines. It can be frustrating to throw darts in the dark, but I enjoy taking a chance on something new, especially if it's not too expensive. At Almond, a new restaurant in Manhattan, I discovered a beauty.
We started the meal with a platter of oysters on the half shell, so I was looking for a crisp white and noticed a wine the list called a "Fié Gris" from Burgundy. The waiter described it as a cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, so for $48, it seemed like a reasonable gamble. It was quite full-bodied, but remained vibrant, with grapefruit and lime flavors that opened up to pear and mineral notes, no evident oak and a distinctive spicy finish. I rated it 89 points, non-blind; it harmonized beautifully with the briny Malpeques.
A little research showed it came from a subregion of Burgundy called St.-Bris, once part of Chablis, which is home to a distinctive version of Sauvignon Blanc, of which "Fié Gris" is a clone, or ancestor. The Goisot domaine practices organic vititiculture; their "Corps de Garde" bottlings are reserves from old vines. Care and skill were evident in the finesse and intensity of this distinctive wine.