Many wine drinkers have not had the opportunity to try a white Côtes du Rhône. Here at the Wine Shop, we have received mixed levels of enthusiasm regarding this wonderful, not always appreciated white wine. When I found out about the subpar feedback from customers regarding white Rhônes, I was surprised; however, after a little bit of investigation, I discovered why. A French wine-expert friend of mine explained to me that many people drink white wines at very cold temperatures, assuming that all white wines are meant to be enjoyed cold, which is, to some extent, true. However, the word “cold” is quite relative. The Roussanne and Marsanne varieties that are the usual components of white Rhônes tend to have a bit of a bland taste when consumed at the too cold temperatures found in most household refrigerators. This could be due to their viscosity, however, I was able to analyze this phenomenon further, and I realized that when the taste receptors on our tongues (“gustatory receptors”) are too cold, they lose some of their ability to distinguish subtle flavors. The solution is to drink some white wines at cool temperatures rather than “cold” and the difference is quite dramatic! White Côtes du Rhônes are a family favorite and when we enjoy them, we usually take them out of the refrigerator a good half hour prior to drinking, and at this “cool” temperature (rather than “cold”) they are absolutely delicious! The 2016 Chateau Mont-Redon Côtes du Rhône Blanc is utterly sublime! A blend of equal parts Viognier, Grenache Blanc and Roussanne, the vines grown in this region are planted in stony, limestone-clay plains. The result is a superb white wine, pulsating with beautiful, floral aromas and round, well-balanced acidity, with a long, luxurious, creamy finish. Pair this with pork, chicken, duck, lamb, sausage, veal, and Asian dishes. White Rhônes also go beautifully with spaghetti Bolognese and other dishes like Beef Stroganoff that have cream or sour-cream based sauces. Do yourself a favor—try a white Côtes du Rhône, but make sure it’s not too cold.
I checked my bank account after the holidays, and let’s just say it’s ugly. That said, I should be writing up a bottle from our Back Wall Bargain section, but I’ve been wanting to try the 2010 Boscarelli since we received it a few weeks ago. So I bucked up and spent a little more than I was planning on—it was worth it. The wine is comprised of 85 percent Sangiovese Prugnolo Gentile, with the remaining 15 percent made up of Colorino, Canaiolo and Mammolo. It spends 18 to 24 months in oak, and is then aged in bottle for several more months before it is released. This one definitely wants food and paired very well with a pan fried, seasoned pork chop and roasted vegetables. It shows dusty black cherry, a little plum, with some leather and spice. The alcohol is 13.5 percent, and the wine still has excellent acidity. Shows very well now, but I’m grabbing a couple extra bottles so I can revisit it in another three years or so.
After drinking so many good wines in December, I decided to shoot low for January with a Spanish Grenache for $9.99. My good friend Craig Baker at Misa imports alerted me to this wine which got a whopping 91 points from the Wine Advocate and a “trust me, it’s delicious” from Craig. He was not kidding. One hundred percent old vine Grenache from the Calatayud region of Spain, a big pile of crushed berries and some lovely dusty cocoa powder tannins make this easy to enjoy, but not just soft and sappy. This has a good amount of structure and depth in the finish to give it lift and make it a complement to a lot of different week-night meals. You should buy a case. Really. I did.
The Saint-Peray appelation in the northern Rhône is not what would have come to mind if I was sitting down to a meal with a white Rhône wine. But there I was . . .with this wine, and it certainly was an eye-opener for me. The entire appelation is comprised of less than 200 acres of Marsanne and Roussanne grapes, and much of the production is made into sparkling wine which I have enjoyed on occasion while traveling in France. It is said that the sparkling wines of Saint Peray were the first wines that Napoleon Bonaparte experienced as a young cadet in nearby Valance. Our wine, however, was a still wine, made from 100 percent Marsanne grapes, and we chose to pair it with the cheese course after dinner and multiple reds. The wine not only paired perfectly with the assortment of cheeses, but it was a refreshing change of pace with its bright mineral-accented notes of orchard and pit fruits and lively spine of acidity. A pleasant nuttiness and background of white flowers added interest and complexity to the finish. The granitic and limestone soils and unique exposure in this tiny appelation have resulted in wines that now have my full attention. These wines are meant to be enjoyed young. As in...............RIGHT NOW!
This wine comes from the foothills of the Chartreuse Mountains so far to the east in France it’s almost Swiss. One hundred percent Jacquere (that’s the grape), usually this wine is recommended with fondue, and we only see just a drop for our shelves. This vintage, we scored enough to put together a humble stack in our Best Buy area, so I decided to try it. Besides fondue, this crisp quaff would be great with shell fish and soft cheeses. It’s a pale yellow color with hints of green. Fresh and floral with notes of citrus fruit and white flowers. Very mineral with aromas of citrus, pear, and white peaches, with a long finish. This stack will go fast
Happy New Year and welcome to 2018, the year that may very well be the best wine year of your life! My first recommendation to make this a reality is this wonderful Pinot Noir from Chile’s Casablanca Valley. Montsecano is a collaboration between Julio Donoso and the famous André Ostertag of Alsace, France. The wine is one of only two bottlings they do from two horse-plowed vineyards on their biodynamically farmed estate. It is fermented with indigenous yeasts in concrete egg fermenters, and from the urging of André’s son Arthur, 20 percent is whole cluster. All this produces a wine with a beautiful ruby red color and a perfumed nose of cherry, violets and raspberry. On the palate, these pure fruit flavors join a lively mouth feel with well-balanced acidity. This is probably the best vintage of this particular wine to date. It is so pretty and delicious that you can even drink it without food if you want. Cheers!
Every month we’re asked to pick a specific wine we’ve tried as our Wine of the Month. Well December is a time of celebration for a lot of people, so I pick Champagne. Not one specific Champagne, just Champagne in general. This year we have struck so many deals with importers through our distributors that we have the best selection of sale Champagne ever. Here are a few to choose from:
• Jean Vesselle Brut Reserve (Reg. $44) Sale $34.95
• Drappier Carte d’Or Brut (Reg. $44) Sale $34.95
• Aubry Brut (Reg. $45) Sale $34.95
• Jean-Noel Haton Brut Rosé (Reg. $44) Sale $34.95
• Louis Roederer Brut Premier (Reg. $54) Sale $44.95
• Pol Roger Brut (Reg. $60) Sale $49.95
• 2008 Godme Brut Grand Cru (Reg. $59) Sale $42.95
So many great wines, start drinking them today!!
This is a wine I’ve been wanting to try for some time. The Burg Hound, always a conservative rater, gave it 91 points—a rarity for him, especially for a wine from Oregon. The wine did not disappoint. The aromas are lovely if a bit reserved, offering floral red fruit with touches of herb and anise. This is an elegantly structured wine filled with silky berry fruit that caresses the palate and lingers on and on. That’s backed by layers of flavor that include tart cherry, mocha, leather and spice. Here’s the good news: if you are a fan of Burgundian Pinot Noir, this is a must try; a beautiful expression of the unique Ribbon Ridge terroir. Now for the bad news: we currently don’t have any in stock. The winery owner recently did a tasting at the shop and brought a bottle of his 2013. We are working on getting the distributor to bring some in for us. In the meantime, try their 2014, a bit more fruit forward effort that is sure to please a wide variety of wine lovers.