Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Loire Reaches

So it's mid January in Chicago and I'm drinking Loire whites.

Can we say Cour-Cheverny, Cheverny, Menetou-Salon, Quincy, Savennieres, Vouvray, Montlouis, and Chinon (blanc, that is)?

Yes we can all for under $20. I'd be drinking some wonderful 2005 right bank Bordeaux (if they were about $10 cheaper), some lovely Barolo (if they were about $75 cheaper), and some Cote de Nuits (if they were about $100 cheaper), but alas, my pale lover has taken hold of my pocketbook. (I've been craving Beaujolais, specifically Morgon and Fleurie, lately, and there's no excuse not to buy them.)

I'm not going to write specific tasting notes, I'm just going to dwell on the utter charm of these wines. Charm is something I always talk about when I'm thinking about great value wines. I don't mean a wine that will penetrate the soul and be so complex that it overtakes an entire evening of thought, but a wine that stands out as singular, expressive, and takes me from my orange chair in my studio apartment to somewhere else.

Tessier Cour-Cheverny 2005. Romorantin's final bastion is Cour-Cheverny, and it's so tasty. I always get a very apple-juicy quality out of this grape but Tessier's has much more heft, funk, and body than the Dressner Cour-Cheverny (a wine that I love). A little earthiness and body does this wine well. Esoteric wine lovers, unite!

I had a Kermit Lynch Cheverny, undoubtedly a Sauvignon Blanc/Chardonnay blend, but very expressive of that lively grassy/mineral Loire SB, with a little more body. For $10, I can't think of a more charming, food-friendly wine to take to Glenn's Diner for their insultingly good, simple fish.

I also had a lovely Quincy, from the little AOC west of Sancerre and Menetou-Salon, that was very very lightly-colored, but had that pungent herbal and lime note that was so savory that it made me smile. Not the most elegant example of that style of SB, but it helped me to accept that SB can be interesting and really, really cool. This wine was so neat that I bought a cheap Mentou-Salon so apologize to SB. (I have been dogging on SB lately.)

Francois Chidane's many Montlouis offerings stun me, especially the Truffeaux (sp?). Chenin kills me.

Now this wine is freaky. The Chateau d'Epire, Savennieres, 2003. Yes '03 was super-ripe everywhere in France...people died. Lynch's bottling (unfiltered, as always) comes from a vineyard on the same hill as (oneofthecoolestwinesEVER) Joly's monopole AOC Coulee de Serrant. This vineyard (according to Lynch) wanted to be included in the Coulee de Serrant AOC, but didn't, for some reason, get in. Thank gods for that, or else'd I couldn't buy a whole bottle. This wine is so deep golden that I gasped when I poured it. So ripe, and smelled like chamomile tea, golden raisins, dried apricots, yellow peach, hay, almonds, and about thirty other things. Yes, my bottle was a hair oxidized as it showed on the third day open, but was so rich, broad, and utterly scrumptious that I lost my marbles. The only beef I have with this wine was that it was so ripe that the acidity was tempered maybe a hair too much. I 'd love to have the '02 of this. Or the '05 in about 4 more years. Find this, buy it, and tell me what you think.

I've just sipped and sampled a few lovely Vouvray lately and remember how great they are. Mmmm.

Chinon only produces about 2% of white wine, and I got one! I haven't opened it yet, but it's on the rack waiting to be lightly chilled.

Drink wierd.


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