Sunday, July 24, 2016

François Chidaine Clos Habert

François Chidaine Clos Habert 2011
Montlouis Sur Loire, France

Oooh, yay. Another gem from François Chidaine, hailing from the small Franch commune of Montlouis Sur Loire.

Like all of their wines, this Chenin Blanc is made under biodynamic conditions. The wine is fermented with native yeasts in 600 liter wooden casks. Malolactic fermentation is prevented in order to retain bright acidity in the wine.    

Review: The Clos Habert is a deep golden color with aromas of white flowers, honey suckle, and dried apricots. The palate is a tad off dry with a round, supple texture. The age of the wine is beginning to show on the palate, with dried stone fruit, honey, waxy lanolin, and a hint of earth. The finish is long and full of honey. Classic Chenin. 

Food Pairing: I paired this beauty with a simple roast chicken. Perfect. 

Bottom Line: Fruit, floral, earth. Amazing balance and length.


Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Montloius Sur Loire AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 14.2%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018

Where did I get it? MacArthur Beverages
What's the damage? High Price

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Paraduxx C Blend
Paraduxx C Blend 2010
Napa, California

So Donald Trump is officially nominated for the highest office in the land. It seemed only fitting to open up a wine called Paradox. Well, Paraduxx anyway...

The Paraduxx wine label is part of Duckhorn's prolific family of wines (to be clear, no affiliation of which I am aware to politics of any flavor). Under this label they primarily focus on blends of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, sometimes with other yummy grapes included. The C blend is 60% Cabernet and 40% Zin, with 16 months in a mix of French and American oak.

Review: This beauty is a deep ruby color with rich aromas of black cherry, plum, stewed prunes, and tart cranberry. The palate is technically dry (but with a hint of sugar to add roundness), with moderate acid and finely grained ripe tannin. Rich black fruit flavors, along with anise, bay leaf, toast, and sweet spice create complexity and intensity. The finish is moderate in length, with lingering fruit and spice.

Food Pairing: Seared duck breasts with a cherry (and C blend!) reduction.

Bottom Line: Excellent concentration, complexity, and intensity, wrapped up in a ripe, smooth package. Absolutely lovely.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2010
  • PLACE: Napa Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area)
  • GRAPES: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Zinfandel
  • AGEING: 16 months in oak, 78% French, 22% American, 40% new
  • BOOZE: 14.5%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2020

Where did I get it? 'Twas a gift!
What's the damage? Super Premium 

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Grosjean Gamay

Grosjean Gamay 2013
Valle d'Aoste, Italy

I spotted this wine near the counter in my new neighborhood wine shop, Village Wines. The Valle d'Aoste region is tucked in just north of Piedmont, along the French and Swiss borders with Italy. You'll see also see it spelled "Vallée d'Aoste" as it is known to the many local French speakers.

The Valle d'Aoste is the smallest region within Italy, in both its size and population. It may be tiny, but is home to the highest elevation viticulture in all of Europe. Very little is exported from the region, so I was particularly excited to see it.

Review: This Gamay is a medium ruby color with aromas of ripe cherry, red plum, and a tiny metallic hint of graphite. It's dry with low-to-medium acid and very little tanin, resulting in a light bodied wine. Flavors of confected but tart red fruits (cherry and red raspberry) are simple and easy, with a short finish. 

Food Pairing: A solid porch sipper on a hot summer day -- or pair with a green salad topped with strawberries. 

Bottom Line: An easy drinking red. Put a little chill on it to bring out the wine's full flavor.

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2013
  • PLACE: Vallée d'Aoste DOP (Denominazione di Origine Proteta)
  • GRAPE: Gamay
  • BOOZE: 12.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2017

Where did I get it? Village Wines, Nashville, TN
What's the damage? Mid Priced 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Perseval-Farge C. de Pinots Champagne

Perseval-Farge C. de Pinots 1er Cru Champagne
Montagne de ReimsChampagne, France

I encountered this wine at a tasting event last fall in DC and just had to bring a bottle home with me. The C. de Pinots is made by Perseval-Farge in the premier cru village of Chamery. As the name would imply, it is a blend (cuvée) of 55% Pinot Noir and 45% Pinot Meunier. The wine is a blend across multiple vintages, where some of the reserve wines spend time in oak. This treatment allows for greater stability and enhances the autolytic (toasty and yeasty) character of the wine.

Review: This sparkler is a golden color with just a hint of salmon and a stream of small persistent bubbles. It has fragrant aromas of apple and brioche. The wine is dry (dosage level of only 7g/L, squarely in the Brut category) with generous but not searingly high acidity, creating a round texture with a generous mousse. Flavors of fresh red plums, quince, delicate hazelnut, and almond croissant are fully expressed on the palate. The flavors last a moderately long time and finish cleanly.

Food Pairing: I enjoyed this with a bowl of fresh berries.

Bottom Line: Positively delightful texture, with excellent fruit concentration and toastiness. How I wish I bought a case!

Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non Vintage
  • PLACE: Champagne AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 55% Pinot Noir, 45% Pinot Meunier
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now

Where did I get it? Arrowine
What's the damage? Super Premium

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Broadbent Rainwater Madeira

Broadbent Rainwater Madeira
Madiera, Portugal

Happy (slightly belated) Independence Day! You many not think it, but there are few things more patriotic than a glass Madeira. Madeira was used to toast not only the Continental Congress's signing of the Declaration of Independence, but also President George Washington's inauguration.

Yesterday I popped open a bottle of the historic beverage myself to toast America's birthday. I went with a lighter style of Madeira -- Rainwater -- to go with the steamy summer night. (In case you missed me, my 3 month absence from blogging has come to a close as the relocation from Washington, DC to Nashville, TN has finally been completed. Can you believe that it's EVEN MORE HUMID here than it was in DC? Crazy business.) The name Rainwater is said to have originated when a shipment was diluted by rain during transit across the Atlantic to the United States; hence the style's light character.

Rainwater is not made from one of the noble white grapes grown on the island (Malmsey, Bual, Verdelho, Sercial), but from the red grape Tinta Negra. Most wine made on the island, roughly 90 percent, is made from this workhorse grape. This one is categorized by its level of sweetness (Medium Dry), rather than with an age indication.

Review: The Madeira has a beautiful pale amber hue and aromas of roasted almonds, orange marmalade, and dried dates. The palate is shows a hit sweetness, balanced by brisk acidity. The texture is soft and supple, with bright flavors of nuts, caramel, confected citrus, and a hint of roasted coffee. The finish is long and flavorful.

This wine is reminiscent of Madeira made from Bual grapes, where nut and fruit characteristics dominate the relatively sweet, brightly acidic wine.

Food Pairing: Perfect on its own, served slightly chilled as an aperitif. Or drink with some stinky cheeses or rustic Pâté.

Bottom Line:  I particularly enjoyed the lively acidity in the wine, keeping it refreshing even with the high level of residual sugar. The perfect summer drink to sip on a warm sticky day - holiday or not. Open one bottle and it will last you the whole season!

Wine Geekery:
  • PLACE: Madeira
  • GRAPE: Tinta Negra
  • VINTAGE: Non-Vintage
  • BOOZE: 19.0%
  • RESIDUAL SUGAR: 67.5 g/L
  • CELLAR: Drink now, but will hold for a very very long time

Where did I get it? Village Wines, Nashville, TN
What's the damage? High Priced (but only barely)