Single-grape varietal wines can be astonishing, even stunning, when harvest and winemaker are in perfect synch, as is the case with, say, cabernets made from especially good vintages. But we also admire the skills of those winemakers who blend superior wines, both white and red, no matter what curve the harvest might throw at them.
Such is the case with a white wine from a single vineyard in the Languedoc region of southern France simply called Dependable (the 2009 goes for about $10 at wine shops). Dependable, named in honor of a Citroen dating to 1955 that the winery, at least, considers France's most reliable car, is a masterful blend of piquepoul (40 percent), roussanne (30 percent), chardonnay (15 percent) and sauvignon grapes.
Its aroma is subtle, compounded mainly of light citrus and faint floral notes but with the merest suggestion of butterscotch, too. On the tongue the wine opens with clean and lively lime, lemon and apricot flavors underpinned by a taste of baked green apples and, again, that suggestion of butterscotch. It is an astonishingly complex and subtle profile for a $10 wine from anywhere.
We would serve it with the usual suspects — fish, shellfish, sushi, seasonal salads or as an aperitif — but it also would pair delightfully with pork chops and apples sauteed in butter, a decidedly autumnal dish.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel.