This is more than just about a wine. And honestly most of these stories are more than just about the wine. It’s also about the journeys we go on, the people we share it with, and of course any life changing tidbits along the way. Not everything is going to be memorable or resonate.
Sometimes it’s not the wine but it’s the wonderful company you shared it with, or maybe you had a moment of peace and solitude. And you may have said to yourself that life is pretty good, and at least for even a few surrealistic seconds, it was as pretty close to complete peace that there is.
You ever get that feeling? I bet it happens more than you and I realize.
I’ve had that happen to me multiple times recently. Maybe the universe is telling me to appreciate life all I can, because those moment are everywhere if you let them.
Well this happened to me twice in the same weekend at nearly the same place. Now how I ended up in Northern Virginia twice in three days is something I hadn’t planned out. It just worked out that way. And I’m grateful it did because it brought me back to visit an old familiar friend, Balducci’s.
Now we’ve all been to markets with their selections of natural foods, organic foods, salad bars, hot food bars, delis, cheese markets, and everything else you can come up with. But Balducci’s has been doing this for over 100 years.
Now with locations exclusively to Connecticut, Maryland, New York, and Virginia, it’s not going to be readily accessible to everyone. And in a way these locations are mostly in pricier parts of their respective cities, which means higher end food and higher end prices. That also means higher quality, yet you can still find deals.
I’ll make this part brief. my first and many visits after was to the Bethesda location near where i grew up. Now that area is not quite my cup of tea but going back to my younger days when it was under a different name, I do have fond memories, maybe simply because it was a simpler time, and there were less things to worry about.
Even if the prices seemed out of reach at the time, what did stand out is how I hadn’t seen a store like this, of its kind, maybe ever. And even with changes, the heart of the store remains the same. And now they’ve added wine.
But two recent visits to the older part of McLean, VA brought me to another one of Balducci’s location. And this location has more of a presence and easier to find than its Bethesda counterpart, simply because the McLean location is almost in an island unto itself, with little to no competition or hardly any neighbors to speak of.
Before I continue to digress, I’ll just say that what makes Virginia even stand out more is wine is easily accessible in grocery, convenient, and drug stores, while in Mayland you need a special permit, which the Bethesda location has. But it makes coming to Virginia to buy one that much easier.
Yet I wasn’t looking for it. But in McLean I felt so happy. It was near where I was born, near things that made me happy (what those things are I’m really not quite sure, but I felt warm and fuzz), and overall had a welcoming energy I hadn’t always felt from its Bethesda counterpart. If it sounds like I’m sort of picking on Bethesda, I don’t mean to.
There’s a lot to appreciate because in addition to everything that’s cool, their main headquarters is in Maryland.
With all that said, I perused the wine section and noticed how so many bottles were in the $20-$30+ range. That wasn’t a priority for me and it hardly ever is. Thankfully, Balducci’s does have their own label of wines that were mostly under $15.00. One in particular, the Chenin Blanc was only $10. Without hesitation I decided this is what I was going to get, and this is what I’m going to write about.
I was introduced to Chenin Blanc last summer, and enjoyed it for its simplicity yet somewhat sweet but still dry flavors, that make it a white that fans of mostly red wines can also enjoy. If you were willing to give it a shot. I did and I’ve had a few I’ve truly sipped again.
This 2016 Balducci’s Chenin Blanc tasted like a wine that is worth $10, nothing more, maybe less. And with the understanding now it was one of the few bottles at $10 or less at Balducci’s, I get that quality is much higher here, and a lot of Chenin Blanc was produced. More than what they know what to do with. That’s just an observation and speculation.
I tasted some fruits, and while it was semi sweet and dry, it was missing that wow factor. It felt like an everyday wine and I don’t think you should expect much more. There wasn’t anything wrong with it. It was a decent wine for the price.
And it pairs well with spicy foods, salads (among so much more) or nothing at all. I had mine with some Asian style chicken and vegetables. And it was simple complement of wine and food. That’s sometimes all you want and/or need.
Here is a link to the importer of their wines, Kysela Pere et Fils if you’re curious to know more.
Maybe I had lofty goals because the Balducci’s of McLean had a positive energy and vibe that I can’t fully explain. Maybe the grass is always greener, maybe it’s because I was born not too far away (that is a huge part of it), or maybe I don’t come around enough to grasp what’s fully going on. No need to over-analyze too much.
However, I do know this is just the beginning. There’s more of this location and I’d like to explore and definitely a visit to the place where I was born in Alexandria, VA.
Yes so this will be done again sooner rather than later, and definitely before the year is out. It’ll be a thoroughly enjoyable adventure. I hope you’ll be able to join me.
And finally, here is their contact information.
Thank you so much and look forward to doing this all again soon.