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The Essence of Wine: Lemon


Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

Bright as sunshine, electric in its sour purity, lemon is one of life's most essential flavors. Its true origins in southeast Asia may never be known, but after a long career as primarily an ornamental and occasionally medicinal fruit, lemons found their first real fans during the Italian Renaissance. By the time Columbus began his voyage, lemon seeds were prized enough to be included as cargo, and bestowed as gifts upon the new world. Few cuisines of the world fail now to incorporate lemon, and fewer parents have forgotten the face that accompanies an infant's first taste. More than any other fruit, lemon makes an appearance in white wines — dry, sweet, and sparkling. From zest to pith to juice to candied rind, from salty eggy lemon curd to sweeter tangy Meyer flesh, lemon often lives where wine's acidity crackles. Pucker up and drink it down, or just bask in the beautiful yellow flavor.

Domaine Ramonet Bienvenues-Batard-Montrachet Grand Cru, Burgundy, France
Henschke "Louis" Semillon, Eden Valley, South Australia
Fred Loimer Langenlois Riesling "Seeberg Erste Lage Reserve" Kamptal, Austria
R. Lopez de Heredia Reserva Vina Tondonia Blanco, Rioja, Spain
Red Newt Davis Farms Vineyard Riesling, Finger Lakes, New York, USA
Chateau Pape Clement Blanc, Graves, Bordeaux, France
Chateau de Beaucastel Chateuneuf-du-Pape Blanc, Rhone Valley, France
Vins d'Orrance "Cuvee Anais" Chardonnay, Western Cape, South Africa
J. Hofstatter "Barthenau Vigna S. Michele" Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige, Italy
Alfred Gratien "Cuvee Paradis" Brut Champagne, Epernay, France
Schloss Johannisberg "Rosalack" Riesling Auslese, Rheingau, Germany

This is part of an ongoing series of original images and prose called The Essence of Wine

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.