Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Domaine des Baumard Carte d'Or

Domaine des Baumard Carte d'Or 2011
Coteaux du Layon, France

Baumard is one of my go-to producers in the Loire valley. I'm a fan of their whole line, from their full, dry Savennières to their luscious Quarts de Chaumes.

The Carte d'Or comes from the region of Coteaux du Layon within Anjou, across the Loire river from Savennières. The wines are made from some combination of very ripe grapes (lots of sugar), grapes affected by noble rot (which concentrate the sugars), or grapes dried on the vines (which also concentrates the sugars). As you might then expect, wines of the Coteaux du Layon are all sweet (vinified to leave some residual sugar), varying from semi-sweet to intensely sweet.

Review: The Carte d'Or has a deep golden color and gorgeous aromas of white peach, apricot, honeysuckle, and preserved lemon. It is medium sweet with bright acid, creating a full bodied wine, redolent of stone fruit, minerals, and waxy honeycomb. The finish lingers with flavors of honeyed peaches.

Food Pairing: The sweetness and acidity of this wine make it so versatile. I paired with a spicy pork chili -- the wine was not only able to stand up to the heat, but the sweetness provided an excellent counterpoint to the spice. Perfection.

Bottom Line: Bright, balanced, and delicious. (And a great price, right under $20).



Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: 2011
  • PLACE: Coteaux du Layon AOC  (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée)
  • GRAPE: Chenin Blanc
  • BOOZE: 12%
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2017
  • www.baumard.fr/

Where did I get it? Crystal City Wine Shop
What's the damage? Mid Price

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Jean-Claude Raspail Clairette de Die Tradition

Jean-Claude Raspail Clairette de Die Tradition
Die, Rhone Valley, France

Naturally sparkling wines are all the rage these days, but this isn't a new idea. The folks around the town of Die in the Rhone Valley have been making naturally sparkling wines for, well, ever. The technique is even called the Methode Dioise Ancestrale: a slow fermentation begins in cool temperature vats for one to two months, and then the wine is transferred to the bottle for another four months to complete the fermentation. The finished product is a naturally sweet sparkling wine!

This is quite different than Methode Traditionelle sparkling wines like Champagne, Cava, and Franciacorta. These wines are fermented to dryness, then bottled with yeast and sugar and fermented again in the bottle, and then disgorged (the spent yeast is removed from the bottle). Methode Ancestrale wines only undergo one fermentation (part in a vat, part in the bottle) and then are not disgorged. The Jean-Claude Raspail is "Agriculture Biologique" -- fancy French for organically grown. Doesn't get more natural than that!

Review: This Clairette de Die is fluffy and fragrant. It's a golden yellow color with a small bead and frothy texture. Aromas of honeysuckle, green apple, white peach are positively intoxicating. The wine is medium sweet (more than off dry, but not fully sweet) with bright acid. This, along with the mousse, creates a beautiful mouth-coating texture. Flavors of dried golden apple and honeysuckle dominate the palate. The finish drops off relatively quickly, leaving me with a sweet freshness.

The blending of Clairette (25%) provides the Muscat (75%) with a much needed zesty acid. The resulting balance is of delicate flavors and soft texture is quite lovely.

Pairing: The perfect aperitif.

Bottom Line: Light and sweet, easy and fun! 


Wine Geekery:
  • VINTAGE: Non-Vintage
  • PLACE: Clairette de Die AOC (Appellation d'origine contrôlée)
  • GRAPES: 75% Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, 25% Clairette Blanches
  • BOOZE: 7.5% 
  • CELLAR: Drink now through 2018
  • www.raspail.com

Where did I get it? Astor Wines and Spirits
What's the damage? Mid Priced