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The Essence of Wine: Melon


Image © 2012 Leigh Beisch

The melon is hard to ignore. Its fullness, dangling awkwardly at the end of a slender vine seems to make a conspicuous show of fecundity and the promise of interior treasures. And what treasures they are. The perfectly ripe melon — its pale green, yellow, or orange flesh dripping with nectar — instantly recommends itself as a food fit for royalty or the gods themselves. In Japan, though imported from its Arabic and African homeland relatively recently, melons have become oddly both an expensive corporate gift, and symbolic of the final taste of this world at death's door — the flavor worthy of shepherding any soul to its next destination. While perhaps not reaching such a flavorful apogee, the aromas of melons can make appearances in wines in all their many hues from Cantaloupe to Casaba to Honeydew. Muscat in its many guises most often hints at, or even blurts such flavors outright, but many other white grapes (including Friulano, Garganega, and even Riesling) can also provide the same sweet floral satisfaction. Like so many echoes of food that we find in wine, the scent of melon cannot approach the real fruit's intensity, but in this case, even a trace does the trick.

Y. Rousseau "Old Vine" Colombard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma, California, USA
Brassfield "Serenity" White Blend, High Valley, Lake County, California, USA
Patricius Sárga Muskotály, Borvidék, Tokaj, Hungary
Kavaklidere "Ancyra" Muscat, Cappadocia, Turkey
Domaine Marcel Deiss "Mambourg Grand Cru" White Blend, Sigolsheim, Alsace, France
Henschke "Julius" Riesling, Eden Valley, Barossa, South Australia
Dancing Coyote Verdelho, Clarksburg, California, USA
Caymus Conundrum, Napa, California, USA
Asahi Shuzo "Dassai Niwari Sanbu - Otterfest 23" Junmai Daiginjo Sake, Yamaguchi Prefecture, Japan
Livon "Braide Alte" White Blend, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy
Suavia Soave Classico. Monte Carbonare, Veneto, Italy
Vignes du Maynes "Aragonite" Macon Cruzille Blanc, Burgundy, France
Didier Dagueneau "Pur Sang" Pouilly Fumé, Loire Valley, France
Ronco dei Tassi "Fosarin" Collio Bianco, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Italy

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

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The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson Wine Grapes The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson to cork or not to cork by George Taber reading between the vines by Terry Theise 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 Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud