"Treasure Planet" is the most underappreciated Disney cartoon ever. There, I said it. No, I'm not taking that back, I stand by it.
I suggest an often overlooked South African Chenin Blanc, like Spier Seaward.
Directed by Ron Clements and John Musker, "Treasure Planet" reimagines Robert Louis Stevenson's classic 1883 adventure novel, "Treasure Island". Rebellious teenager Jim Hawkins (voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) dreams of leaving his ordinary life behind to venture into the vast reaches of space. His wish comes true when he discovers a map to the legendary Treasure Planet, which holds the wealth of a thousand worlds. Jim sets sail aboard a space galleon, where he encounters a cyborg cook, Long John Silver (voiced by Brian Murray). Long John Silver takes Jim under his wing and mentors the young man.
Their surrogate father-son relationship is the star of the movie, which is probably what makes Long John Silver the best Disney villain ever. I'm not taking that back either! How often do you see a villain that genuinely loves the protagonist and he gets a character arc? Try not to tear up when Silver and Jim say their goodbyes at the end.
South Africa is the largest producer of Chenin Blanc in the world, including its Stellenbosch region, but does it get any respect? Chenin Blanc grapes don't have the same name recognition as their more globally-recognized cousins and until recently, South Africa was largely used for bulk wine production.
The Seaward Chenin Blanc showcases the versatility and depth of flavors that Chenin Blanc can offer. On the nose, you're greeted with an aromatic bouquet of ripe tropical fruits such as pineapple and guava, along with notes of green apple, pear, and a touch of honey. Depending on the vintage, you might also detect nuances of citrus blossom and flint, adding complexity to the aromatic profile.
On the palate, the Spier Seaward Chenin Blanc impresses with its well-balanced acidity and luscious fruit flavors. Layers of ripe apple, pear, and tropical fruits intermingle with hints of citrus and minerality, creating a delightful harmony. Despite its fruit-forward nature, the wine retains a crisp, refreshing finish that invites another sip.
Why They Pair Well
We've covered how South African Chenin Blancs are as underappreciated as "Treasure Planet," but it bears repeating. Additionally, Spier Seaward's Chenin Blanc represents the adventurous and exploratory spirit of South African winemaking. Just like finding buried treasure, the Spier Seaward's Chenin Blanc is an unexpected discovery.
By Eddie Beeby
What wine would you pair with "Treasure Planet?"