Tag Archives: French wine

Et tu, Beaujolais? Yup this Juliénas will kill

21 May


One more distraction before the next cru! I was a guest on The Delightful Table, a fantastic blog by my friend Scheherezade features sustainable cooking and seasonal veggies. We experimented pairing “difficult to pair” veggies with wines. Check out the artichoke madness here


And now. We are moving on down through the Beaujolais crus! From flippant Saint-Amour to rather stern Juliénas! A jerk face who is sinister and will beat your mouth up. In a good way, of course!

Named for Caesar. Shall we salad with this wine? Would a Caesar salad pair well? Huh, I feel like maybe not but it’s worth investigating. The wine in question:

2015 David-Beaupere Juliénas “Vayolette”

I got it for about 20 bucks from Garagiste, my favorite source for interesting wines at jolly prices.
Juliénas has a variety of terroirs but the unifying factor tends to be that they are bigger and rougher wines.

This wicked wine was grown in yards of volcanic blue stone, and was made organically. It is a unique devil.

Holy moly it’s high alcohol! 15 % abv. Holy heck it bashes your tongue with little blue pebbles and bramble cranberries! I don’t care if bramble cranberries are not a thing in case you were concerned. I taste violets are blooming in the pebbles to boot. What is this specimen? How is it conquering me with so many different sensations that don’t match yet go together?

And holy holy hell is this wine dark.

Purple as sin. Presuming sin’s true color when showing true colors is purple. The darkness is in flavor too: black pepper, a bit of…I dunno. This is a total snobby “I imagine” tasting note but I bet if those dark purple irises–ya know the flower I’m speaking of?–had a flavor it would be in this wine.

The biggest difference between this and our friend St. Love is the power and the depth. The similarity? The lack of tannins! Many times I taste a tannic wine and describe it as beating my mouth up but this tongue-beater does so without tannins.

Tricky tricky sly sly Caesar.

Now to make that salad (but sans anchovies in the dressing seeing as I’m a vegetarian).

Cheers and tongue-lashings! 

I Feel Amour. The Cycle begins!

15 May


I’ve been saying it for some time. That I was going to do a cycle going through all the lovely Beaujolais crus. Those are: Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vènt, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié,  Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. I came up with a device to remember this: Saint Julian Called Many French Cheapo Madams Really Comely Broads.

And I’ve been feeling the…oh…feeling of spring so what better time to jump into Saint-Amour? The most northerly. We begin at zee beginning.

2015 Pascal Berthier “Esprit de Séduction” Saint-Amour

Beyond waiting for spring fever it took me fucking forever to find a Chenas and I wanted to have located all the crus before starting the dang cycle. But we are here now.

I am feeling love for this Saint-Amour, the most northern of the Beaujolais crus. Ah yes, the granite/clay/schist/limestone soils are on hillier regions than much of the Beaujolais area. Hills can be lovely for wine that wants warmth and sun. And Gamay, the Beaujolais grape, needs a whiff of both.

So far I love this wine and it is loving me back.

Blueberries, y’all. And more blueberries plus blackberries and friggin’ slate blackboard. Picture your childhood art teacher grabbing blue chalk and drawing blueberries and you lick the board and it actually tastes both like the board, the chalk, and the berries. Therrrrre you go. This is a classic gamay in its freshness, berry-ness, a hint of some sort of fortified wine so whaaaa—chamomile/herbs/quinine?—and just more love.

Love y’all back. Next week———–Julienas!

We are cycling together my people. Love you too. 

 

WINTER comes Rosé

9 Jan


My main fear is that my multitude of smart, educated, impassioned musings on rosé still cannot get people to give pink wine a fair shot.

That’s not actually my main fear. My main fears are not fare for blogging here. ANYWAY.

Rosé is NOT JUST FOR SUMMER!!!!

HOPEFULLY ALL CAPS CONVINCE YOU!!!!

Rosé is a wine for all seasons. Don’t you give me lip. This is what you want. I promise. It will warm you up, cool your tongue and light up your soul. 

Before we get to today’s pick let us revisit rosés of the past. This Rosé is still my fave American pink. This One is still my SECOND fave french. 

But right now this is truly my latest hardcore Give Me pink vino love:
2015 Chateau de Trinquevedel Rosé

A full deep wine that offers as much on the tongue as it does to the eye.

ME-fucking-OW.

You are thirsty. You want something pretty badass and PRETTY to look at too. You want something that makes the woman in you roar. Or maybe the secure male in you knows that true men drink pink…you want that part to make some noise.

So this. It is full and vibrant pink that verges on salmon but is HOT DAMN deep pink.

45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 10% Mourvedre, 6% Syrah

It smells of pink grapefruit, limes, cranberries, and holy fuck fabric? Like crisp ironed fabric. Linens.

And some white roses. Picture a bouquet of white roses on Ophelia’s chest floating away from the shore. It is romantic and delicious.

It is those holiday napkins you starch and iron for special occasions. But you folded them into cornucopias holding strawberries and limes and maybe a pretty smooth river stone.

Like the stiffness of a starched napkin it is robust–a plate full of cranberry sauce and bread hearty stuff. But it is elegant. The starched napkin, unfolded into the lap of a woman in silk changes that dynamic.

It is good. Dang.

So that OUGHT to be enough but if you are a wine nerd here are my WSET 3 notes:

EYES: Clear, medium plus, salmon pink 

NOSE: clean, medium intensity grapefruit, wet stones, nectarines and starch. Youthful.

TONGUE: dry, medium plus acid, medium alcohol+ (thank you Grenache for that 13.5%abv), medium plus body for a rosé, flavor intensity medium, then the grapefruits, cranberries, linens, white peach, white flower and honey perhaps? And just fucking delicious. Finish is medium. Not complex but mellow and stony. Picture the feeling you get turning a cool stone over and over in your palm and that is this. Delish.

Quality: GREAT. That’s not WSET just me. I’d think at least twenty but holy duckbills it is like 18. Drink now don’t age. Get next year’s when it is there. Andddddd YES. THIS IS A YES WINE JUST DRINK IT EVEN IN WINTER ESPECIALLY IN WINTER

Because funk noveau

6 Dec


Let’s shut our eyes, close our ears and sew our mouths shut and pretend Beaujolais Noveau were not such a THING because it leads to people overlook the rest of this righteous region. Then unstitch our lips, open eyes, and take the cotton out of our ear holes and take in Régnié.

This is Beaujolais CRU ma sweet babees.

From Regnié. 

I promise I’ll do a ten-part series on the 10 Beaujolais cru vineyards. They exist up north where the soil is granitic and the living is…well it involves a lot of time with the vines but then the living is party. From what I hear.

Let’s get down with this lovely specimen, purchased for a mere 25 from Domaine LA where the living is delicious.

2015 Julien Sunier Régnié Gamay

Lemme see, if I was at a bar and this wine was some cute lady who engaged me in convo because hey, we are two ladeees minding our own business (sorta) at a wine bar…well this is that lady:

Conventionally attractive, and decidedly feminine, wearing some almost arty but mostly Refinery 29-approved wardrobe, this woman drops some pop-culture references that make you want to dismiss her but then a random lesser known Joy Division song comes on and she knows it and still is perky on the surface but she has an open mind. She’s deeper than you gave her credit at first sip. I mean taste. I mean swallow I mean… 

She is green too. Like fresh. Not jaded. Fuck it this girl sorta gets me but like when I’m in a light-hearted mood.

Okay fine, but technically how is she? And her legs? Hahahahhaa. Bad joke I know moving on this WINE is medium ruby purply brew. 

On the nose it is rocks, cherries and dark grape Bubblicious NOT a joke I love that shit. 

On the tongue: dry as can be if grape Bubblicious could be unsweetened. Then comes cherries, raspberry cream soda maybe even…Dr. Pepper? Yes Dr. Pepper. And rocky darkness but barely. Just a hint of the dark side. 

The tannins are medium. They suck at your gums one moment then are like “hey kidding” we are silky fun! Slightly cedar-y fun. Christmas tree delight. 

The alcohol is decidedly not too high (just checked it is 12.5) so you are like hey there is a friendly bite to this! Just a nip of alcohol heat. 

Body I want to say is light from the effervescent nature of what I’m guessing is semi-carbonic maceration. That may be at play but as I did sense some tannins and alcohol it does not keep this from having some body. 

Normally the “medium” nature of many of this wine’s characteristics mighttttt make it far to normal, but like that gal at the bar it is not. It is light enough to banter with but deep enough to carry on with. And if the two of you keep talking well…that friendship may deepen.

GARAGISTE!

17 Feb

This is me waiting, desperately for the decant. Let me at it.

  
At long last I got my delivery. The wicked awesome Jon Rimmerman of the Garagiste goes about and finds wines like this biodynamic oner, and then emails wine lovahs (only if it is lovah with an “ah” not an “er”) with deals. JK re: “ahs”. Pretty sure anyone who signs up gets emailed. Sometimes wine you’re ordering is not even in the bottle yet. But Garagiste has tasted and knows what goodness is to come. There are DANG good deals. And the newsletter musings make amazing reading 1-2 times a day. Provided you are a wine lovah. Lover.

To my (initial) chagrin, they don’t send you your wine until A) you have at least 12 bottles that you’ve ordered, aka a full crate o’ wine amassed, (which takes time since sometimes the wine you order has not even been put in a bottle yet, much less made its way to Washington) and B) shipping conditions from Washington to wherever you are happen to be perfect. And finally I had both 12 wines and the weather was right and I got my first selection.

And much as you want to dive in this box o’ bottles, a maddening letter is placed atop your selection admonishing, downright ADMONISHING you to not drink for another couple of weeks because these babies have been jostling about during shipping the last day or so and they need to rest their tired souls. Let your wine rest. Or else! And you figure you’ve been patient enough so far, so may as well be patient just a wee bit longer.

And to make the waiting even more excruciating Garagiste says to most enjoy this particular bottle  it may need 30-60 minutes of decant time post pouring. BUT they say to sip along the way and so sip I friggin did. 

Ohhhhh shit and the official website for this wine says after all that initial waiting just for a sip or two, to cork the bottle and taste again and again over the next few journées (like, aujourd’hui, aujourd’hui, aujourd’hui and also demain and maaaaaaybe the day after but who the fuck are we kidding) to see how the wine develops and improves. So more bloody waiting. As in, don’t polish off the bottle in a night.

Oh right what we are drinking:

2011 Nicolas Joly Savennières “Les Vieux Clos”

Biodynamic.

From one of my favorite places to source vin. The Loire Valley. Savennières. Doy.

The grape is Chenin Blanc, m’dears.

The bottle itself advised “vigorous decanting”. I poured this golden elixir from some great heights observing the neck for sediment in some great lights. As one must to decant. With vigor.

Garagiste advised that Joly follows the tradition of German Riesling houses and over-fills, so not to be alarmed by damp cork. Good. Because that cork was funky. It looked kinda gross.

So many warnings. So many admonishments. By the time I got to sipping I was terrified. I sniffed long and hard at first. I got nettles, peaches and PINEAPPLE. I love pineapple. And an element of resin. In a way I assumed would be sweet.

It is not sweet! Happily surprisingly. It is full-bodied without being syrupy. Full without being thick. Dry without being bony.

A kumquat may be cooling his heels in there. Kumquats are welcome to cool whatever body part they want in my wine, incidentally. Fuck those who take the rind and discard the rest, I will take it all. Ahem.

There is underlying honey but the first hit says “pine tree” followed by pineapple. The back of your tongue says allspice. That’s happy. The finish burns out with all those elements, swirling about in your mouth. Then you are good to go.

It stands out to me that this wine starts as a jumble of tastes but by ten seconds post-swallow those jumbles knit together.

The Impressionist painting of wines. If Monet made wine, this would be it.

These are my “first fifteen minutes notes”. I’ll revise in about a half hour.

The decanting should be more…vigorized?

Okay time has passed, time for more notes. Post channeling-Courtney Love-circa-1993-ish. And documenting via selfies. Ugh me.

MORE spice has developed. The spices don’t fade, they get stronger by the minute.
The allspice gathers the most momentum, along with some orange zest. It gets sweeter but is that the temperature playing a part?

I dunno. I liked this wine five and a half times better than I thought I would.

I like it a lot.

Or else I wouldn’t share it, kittens.

24 hours later:

OH SHIT! 24 hours n that shit gets cray. The allspice increases tenfold. The acid mellows. The color still looks like unhealthy piss but so does a good juice or so so I will let it pass.. Heck.

Less resin (althpoug it is still there) and more honey. This time the allspice is IN THE FOREFRONT, IT IS. RESIN IS STILL THERE HARDCORE OH SHIT IS THAT MY CAPS LOCK ON? my bad

And now it is two nights past popping:
There is an emerging grassy minerality. The spices say “less allspice, more pepper”. Maybe even an arugula leaf or so. The resin is an afterthought, a smooth finish.

Three nights:
I’m down to the dregs. It is significantly sweeter. The honey is expressing itself more than resin. Think pineapple with allspice but it has been drizzled with honey. I think 1-2 days in was the prime, which does not surprise me.

So buy and if you are curious, eke it out. Otherwise go wild big spender. Buy several. Drink that mother down in a night or so. Then do it again.