Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ugh, I went new world.

This is the town of Marsanne.

This is the grape of Marsanne.
This is the wine of (Qupe) Marsanne (2006).
This is the grape of Roussanne. (17% of the wine!)

Stop the presses: I drank a Cali wine! When only mediocre Frenchies exist and wines from Bob L. are at crazy-low prices. This wine was fantabulously good! Yes, in that on-the-fruit sort-of California way, but fantastic.

Qupe Marssanne 2006 Santa Ynez Valley, 12.5% abv

Crazy low abv for a Rhone-ish white, if you ask me. Really nice. Fantastic acidity that gives the wine a mineral richness, meduim bodied, lots of really linear tangerine and meyer lemon notes. Has only a hint of that Marsanne breadth that one comes to expect. Really killer value, and such a restrained effort. The honey/chamomile Roussanne peaks through very nicely adding a fair dollop of complexity. A fantastic food pair, with just about anything from firm flesh whitefish, anything with a tropical sauce, to green curry, to just good converstation.

I have a weakness for Rhone whites. Don't tell Chenin/Riesling I cheat on him. (Good Roussanne is heaven.)


With the bounty of the weekly farmers market full of fall flavors and the last vestiges of summer, and the mornings with a brisk, mid 50s chill it is time to break out the wines that hug. I'm speaking of Loire reds. Mmm.

I love old wine maps. (Hint: x-mas/bday/anytime gifts for me.)

Sadly, none of my favorite LDM wines are available here in my lovely state. (Side note: Indiana seems to be tilting toward the blue side. Blue being my favorite color, of course. The BF was telling me it went to "white" which meant a Obama/McScary tie, which for us, is fantabulous. Everyone needs to register to vote (for Senator O) in IN.) So no Baudry or Breton for me (Although I have some Breton @ my Sister's house in ChiChi.) There was some strage $40 Chinon at the liquor store down the street that I wasn't too familiar with, and the "wine guy" (I must mock him, he is never helpful, he told me the Telmo "Basa," "has to be 100% Verdejo", and I wanted to retort "That's not what Telmo said.") Said it was "very good, especially if you don't like Cab Franc". So I passed. But I found one last lonely bottle of the Chanteleuserie Bourgueil Vieilles Vignes 2005 for $15 and snatched it up. (See a VLM Bourgeuil comparison report here.)

Chanteleuserie Bourgeuil Vieilles Vignes 2005, $15, 13% abv
Super-value. Rustic, concentrated dark blackberry liquor with only a faint hint of leafyness. Should have decanted or at least opened the bottle a little earlier because things were a bit firm and not so nice at first. But then it came into it's own, and had some killer balance of acidity. I was impressed. I don't know if I like the VV or the Beauvais better...I'm leaning toward the VV. If you see this, it's totally worth the $. A firm, yet approachable '05 Bourg. Great with some roasted squash with sage and thyme turkey tenderloins! Yummers.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Wine of the Spring

Last night I came home from work and all I wanted was a glass of my #1 favorite wine of--this spring. Yes, from the first instance I tasted this gem I find it irresistably gulpable and it makes me tingle with joy. It's also a spectacular value. As value seems to be on the mind of Sr. Asimov and Brooklynguy, I thought I'd chime in. I love to be a part of this group of peeps who seem to enjoy the same wines. (For those unfamiliar with the Vinous Blogosphere: the Loire, followed by the Beaujo is where all of the cool kids are drinking. CRB, Brun, and Puzelat are everywhere! Love it.)

Sadly, I don't have the Mecca, Chambers Street, to shop at (although I'd love a few cases of select Loire/Beaujo/Riesling/Burgs from them! And some Bugey Cerdon!), so I am left to my own devices and the booty I brought from Chicago.

And, yes, I reviewed--uh, drank--a white. BioD/Natural and everything. And f#$%ing yummy.

Domaine St. Nicolas "les Clous" Fiefs Vendeens 2005 (60% Chard/40% Chenin). $14, 12.5% abv. Vines grown a frisbee throw from the Atlantic, south of Nantes, makes it very Loire-ish. As this old map shows, they've been making wine in this VDQS (soon to be AOC, I'm sure) for a while. This wine is just yummy, it balances this savory Chard character (Like I get in Cadette's Bourgogne Vezalays) with that haunting broad Chenin-love thing. Mmm. Yummy--that's it. Complex, haunting, like hay, honey, stone, peach/apricot, and stuff. Dry, but not offensively so. It went bonkers with my homestyle bean curd/spicy string beans, which, by the way, is one of the only Chinese take-out meals I will eat.

F-ing love maps.

Anyway, this wine rocks it. And, to repeat Eric--France is the best source for wine values in the world. And I don't want to hear any arguments otherwise...unless you have some.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Treating Myself

I'm going to gloat for a second. I worked hard around the house today and have decided to reward myself by popping a bottle I've been eyeing since I got it at an absurdly low price. I won't give you exact numbers, but at my local, sort-of-sketchy wine/Middle Eastern/Asian food shop I saw a bottle of Jean Foillard's Morgon "Cote du Py" 2006 for, like, uh, $15 less than I used to sell it for. I grabbed it and didn't let go. But it was the only bottle I could find in the store, and I couldn't find a staff member to locate another. Maybe it's all for the better cause I would have cleared them out of it.

Anyway, you know my feelings on Beaujolais, and ever since tasting the 2006 Foillard @ a Lynch tasting, I had to get my hands on a bottle. Many of my insanely-awesome daily-read blogs have commented on Foillard, especially Mr. LF himself...a few times. Wine Terroirs even visited Mr. Foillard and got star treatment! (The picture is courtesy of him...and this pic makes me very happy.) Bastardo of the Gang of Pour and Jamie at Wine Anorak, among MANY others have sung the praises of his "Cote du Py". (Also a really cool panoramic from the top of the, uh, Mt. Py.)

I opened it at let it breathe for a few hours while I folded laundry and when I finally swirled and sniffed--I fell in love. Roses, rhubarb, tart cherries, strawberry, some sort of oolong tea business--very aromatic in a very cohesive way. Mmm. It tastes like glossy cherry satin, with some definite earthy rich notes, and a yummy long little spicy something on the finish. Moreover the aromas and flavors evolved and I watched the lastest episode of Project Runway on youtube. (Love that show. I hope the finals are Jarrel, Korto, and Leanne. Kenlee is getting on my NERVES.)
Happiness is.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Fluttering of Summer-worthy other whites!


To inaugurate our new apartment I popped a few bottles of summery interesting whites:
(We haven’t been able to drink much due to Jason’s mountain of homework.)

Suore Cistercensi 2006 Vino de Tavola Bianco Coenobium (Lazio)
50% Verdiccio, 25% Grechetto, 25% Trebbiano Toscano, 12.5% abv ($20.99) Organically grown.

From the delicate hands of Cistercian Nuns who farm organically, via Rosenthal and Bea, come this little gem of a white wine from Lazio. The depth from the verdicchio sends this wine to the memorable side of the table (I can’t find any verdicchio here in Indiana, I know not.) Lots of body and richness, without unnecessary alcohol or oak, and a definite lees-influenced character, this wine is just so damned interesting and tasty. Like tangerine, straw, stones, and honey all rolled up into one, with tons of body yet a stalwart acidity as a backbone. Not at all limp or two-dimensional. I should buy a case of this. A few of my friends had sips of it and were like “wow.” Definitely worth the price.

Amestoi Rubentia Txakolina (GetariakoTxakolina) 2007
90% Hondarribi Zuri, 10% Hondarribi Beltza 11% abv ($14.99)

I got this for a STEAL (I saw this bottle priced $20+ other places). I love love love Txakoli, it’s so unique, quaffable and, when you get rockin’ examples like this, very minerally and place expressive. You get that lime and blossom aroma, with tons of chalky/slatey minerality and a whiff of the ocean. Little tiny amount of spritz and some razor acidity. Yum yum, a little minty, lime, green apple, sea water, mountain stream on the palate. So scrumptious with summer veggies or sushi. I probably love this example because it was oh so Riesling-y. Very recommended for $15-18, but maybe not for $22.

Domaine l’Ecu Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie “Expression de Gneiss” 2005
(Guy Bossard) ($14.99) BioD grown.
After reading glowing reviews of Bossard’s wines and finally finding one (and how it got to Southern Indiana is a miracle), I grabbed it. I like Muscadet, and find it charming, quaffable, and a sort of intrinsically “French” white wine. Never giving itself over to you fully. Always restrained and not uber-candy-yummy, but sort of savory yet refreshing. This was no exception but with tons of complexity to boot. Should buy some more and age it for 8+ years. Tons of electric tension in this BioD wine, weightier and very structured and taut yet with the underlying minerality and some more fruit ripeness than typically expected of Muscadet. A bitter yellow apple not with an salty/herby/stony sort of backbone. Hard to put this wine to words. But SO GOOD. KILLER for the price and fun to pair with food. Herbs and seafood with some sort of cream sauce.


Friday, September 05, 2008

Woes of SB

Sauvignon, I love and hate you.

Just a note on SB. I have very sepecific cravings for SB on occasion...more specifically for the herb-tinged Loire-style minerally versions of SB. Think Cheverney or some cheapy Touraine SB. that's what I love. But do I think that SB is a wine we should spend over $20 for. Nope. Yes Didier makes some amazing renditions, not to mention some rockin' sockin' Styrian SB, but still, is it that profound. I'd easily spend $20+ on Chenin, Chard, or Riesling (which is an easy thing to do nowadays), but SB, no. Maybe even a Verdicchio or Albarino. The yummy factor and "completeness" of these greats seems to outshine the simple quench factor of SB. SB does not age well, aside from maybe a couple of lucky examples. It misses a few points aromatically and on the tongue that really can't be made up for.

There you go. Very vague, but you get the drift.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Miss Understanding

Oh, it's only been a few months, settle down. I'm going to try to at least post a little blurb each morning as I have my coffee.

Things have changed--a job change, big move, all for the best. Maybe not wine-wise, but I think I can deal with it. Just a quick note on prejudice.

Terroir does not mean a wine smells like poo and brett. A Pomerol can taste like cherry cordial and still be expressing terroir. What the fuck is a merlot trying to say if it tastes like a "merlot" plus toasted oak and 15.6 abv?

French wine does not all taste the same. Hello? Does any wine from any nation taste the same? Duh. If you want a super-plush, pillowy-sweet, choco-mocha-oaky, muscle-red wine you can find plenty of those in Frogland.

I hate "grape" flavor. Here I mean the classic Welch's grape juice/jam/jelly flavor. Yes, that's Concord for the rest of you. I have never liked anything that flavor...ever. I think it's nasty.

Vintage matters.

Sauvignon Blanc is not usually profound, but very very yummy. Salvard 2007 Cheverny--mainly Sauvignon plus a little Chard. Superyum.

We are lead to believe that things are should be lined up good-better-best. How about yes, there are some good, some not so good, but mainly, lots of different.

Don't hate me because I sort of love things that taste sort of...bad. I like tutti-fruity things too!

If you see me drinking something that's over 14 abv--I'm not contemplating the wine, I'm getting plastered.