Here’s a great lineup of red wines form Loire – three 2005s from Bernard Baudry and two vins de table (and thus, no vintage) wines from Puzelat. Hmm, sounds like a matchup from Wine Madness…So let’s throw in a Breton too to change things up…
First to the Baudry wines from Chinon: I tasted them first blind, in a lineup of Loire reds. The 2005 “domaine” (under $20; find this wine) is tight, concentrated and serious with a great balance of dark fruits, acidity and cab franc tannin. I poured it later to my NYU class where the reception was mixed but definitely favorable. It probably needs some cellar time…
The Baudry Les Grezeaux (find this wine) is another solid offering that, back in the blind tasting, had a great degree of seriousness and poise. But even better was the Le Clos Guillot (find this wine), a serious and age-worthy wine with great integration of the dark fruits, acidity, minerality and tannins.
The Puzelat “vin de table” wines (find these wines) are not allowed to state the vintage but they are probably 2006. They are easier drinking, with bright fruit and higher acidity and totally rewarding under $20 wines. Try with chevre.
The Catherine & Pierre Breton 2005 Chinon (find this wine) is also tasting great right now–so great, it’s one of those “there must be a hole in it because how else could it be empty so fast” kinda great.
The reason for these speed reviews today was at the suggestion of Garyvee, who holds the rotating chair for Wine Blogging Wednesday this month and picked the excellent theme. Since he is a video blogger, I’m not sure how he will do a customary round-up but you can always check the WBW site for the latest.
Also of note: Eric Asimov did his own Chinon shuffle recently.
Judges in the Ninth Circuit Court ruled two to one against Costco, which sells almost a fifth of all wine in Amerca. The judges upheld the Washington Liquor Board’s ban that prohibits distributors from offering deeper discounts to big retailers, varying prices from one retailer to another, and making deliveries to specific stores instead of a central warehouse for retailers. Changing the status quo could have led to reduced wine prices since Costco stores in Washington could buy wine more or less directly from wine producers. [Seattle Times]
Rosenblum sold to furriners!
“Diageo buys Rosenblum for £53m” read the headline in the Financial Times. Why the foreign coverage of a California winery acquisition? Oh yes, Diageo is a drinks multinational based in Britain. With the US dollar tanking, are foreign buyers going to start snapping up American wineries almost as fast as Manhattan pieds-à-terre? Who’s next: Jackson Family? Trinchero? In the case of Rosenblum, let’s hope this reliable producer of zinfandel will continue pumping out the good value vino. [FT.com]
Chew on this
“…if Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan — a Camry, say — to the ultra-efficient Prius.” The meat-guzzler, love it. [NY Times]
The next Wine Blogging Wednesday theme has been announced: review an Italian red in seven words. Since having a good picture might help stretch that to 1,007, check out this month’s host and his tips on how to take better pictures of wine bottles. [Spitoon]
Design for wine
Yes, your design could win you free wine in the WBW logo contest, now underway. [WBW.org]
Four questions with…Dr. Vino!
I spoke with Paul Berger and gave him a few tips for NYC wine geeks. [NY Metro]
When the dollar heads south, so do Burgundy fans. Neil has organized us to head south to the Côte Chalonnaise or the Mâconnais, which he politely calls “silver Burgundy,” for this Wine Blogging Wednesday.
That gave me a chance to try the excellent Domaine Francois Mikulski Aligoté 2005 (about $17, find this wine). This grape, Chardonnay’s poor cousin in the area, has traditionally had crème de cassis dumped all over it in the regional aperitif, Kir (but hey, its not such a bad fate since the Kir Royale reserves that place for Champagne.)
This Aligote has an extremely alluring flavor profile that resembles a cross between the zip of sauvignon blanc and the stony minerality of a Chablis. I poured it for one of my classes at NYU and people were flipping for it. I think sales of Aligoté just tripled.
BREAKING: Turns out that this Mikulski Bourgogne Aligoté is from Meursault in the Cotes de Beaune. Oops! Well, it is still “silver” insofar as it is not Chardonnay. If Neil is being literal, then I recently enjoyed the Génot-Boulanger 2005 Mercurey 1er Cru Les Saumonts (find this wine) for $23. It had pretty red berry fruit with good acidity and a dollop of Burgundian terroir. A good way to play the ridiculously priced 2005 vintage in Burgundy.
For the latest edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, 54 bloggers around the world accepted my mission to “go native.” Each one chose a wine made from a grape variety indigenous to where it was grown.
The result was a terrific listing of many unheralded yet rewarding wines. Tannat, for example, featured prominently with no few than four bloggers tasting this burly red grape and three of them tasting it both from its native France and comparing it with versions from Uruguay. Bloggers explored many remote corers of Italy, the country that produced the most tasting notes. Even the good old USA got some grapes written up, though only one Norton and assorted hybrids and clones developed to become indigenous.
Bonus points were awarded to those bloggers who dared to compare–two versions of the grape, from the homeland and a new home. The bonus points committee also rewarded bloggers who were able to try the grape in its growing area since, they too, were going native.
Without further ado, let’s go to the roundup! Read more…
When I attended a tasting last fall in New York and tried a serious wine from the Douro, I inquired as to the the grape variety.
“Field blend,” came the reply.
I laughed. What’s this “field blend” stuff? Can’t these Portuguese keep track of which grape vines they have in their vineyards? Well, after my trip to the region last week, I learned there’s a method to the apparent madness: many of the oldest vineyards were intentionally planted with a row of this and a row of that to be harvested at the same time and go into port. Table wine producers have tended to keep that same old vineyard blending to make lovable mongrel blends instead of purebreds, single varieties of the New World. Hey, if it works in Chateauneuf, why not elsewhere?
In planting new vineyards, some vineyard owners aim to repeat the traditional “field blend” approach of co-mingling varieties in the vineyard while others take a single vineyard, single variety approach. Thus many of the single vineyard wines from the region tend to be from newer vineyards.
The grape variety touriga comes in various forms in the region but none seems more prevalent than Touriga Nacional–it’s “national” for crying out loud! Read more…
That’s right, I’ve chosen the theme of indigenous grape varieties for this month’s theme. So you still have a week left to select, drink and write a brief tasting note about your wine made from an indigenous grape variety. Bonus points are available for those who drink said wine actually IN the region and even more bonus points can be yours if you do a comparison between old and new. The “big six” grape varieties are banned. Get the whole scoop in the original announcement.
So what are you waiting for? Get your agioritiko into gear!
See more about Wine Blogging Wednesday
Say goodbye Chardonnay and hello Falanghina! Or Romorantin! Mencia or, heck, Moschofilero! If you have just been waiting to venture off the beaten path, now is your chance to try an obscure grape variety from it’s homeland! The justification is the 37th edition of the internet wine juggernaut known as Wine Blogging Wednesday and our theme is to “go native” and try an indigenous grape variety!
Italy alone claims to have 2,000 of them. Spain has many, Portugal maybe even more. Greece is a hotbed of all things ancient, including some grape varieties that are coming back. And even the good ol’ USA has Norton and Scuppernong!
So here is your assignment, should you chose to accept it: sometime between now and September 12, pick a wine made from a grape variety that comes from a place it might call home. Taste it and write up a tasting note (our translators are standing by for foreign language contributions!) on your blog on that day mentioning your involvement in WBW and linking here if you choose. If you don’t have a blog but would still like to participate, then feel free to email me your notes. Then I will round up all the posts and notes, linking back to you, and we will have a giant list of wines from off the beaten path that are hopefully fun and delicious.
Some suggestions, prohibitions and outrageous bonus points opportunities:
France is the homeland to many grapes, so if you decide to venture there, skip the big six grapes (Riesling, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinot Noir) since we’re trying new stuff. That still leaves plenty of things to try from la belle France.
There are many resources available to find out more about grape varieties. Appellation America has a witty, pictorial guide. Steve De Long has his beautiful Wine Grape Varietal Table (for a quick and dirty list, check his Wine Century Club form). And with a regional focus, the current issue of Food & Wine has a story by Ray Isle on “12 (Italian) grapes that are essential to know.” Feel free to post links to more resources in the comments.
Major bonus points will be given for either of two things. First, to anyone who drinks said wine IN the place where it is grown. Second, if you pair a grape from two growing areas including the ancestral home AND a new home (e.g. malbec from Cahors and Mendoza) you will win even bigger bonus points. Just what these bonus points accumulate to has not been decided and, like airline miles, they are susceptible to devaluation at any time. (Bonus points will probably be some form of additional bolding, gold stars and heaps of respect and admiration.)
So happy tasting and I look forward to your notes on September 12!