Take my wine. Please.

The Missus told tBoW she has had it with the pedestrian wines we have been putting in front of her lately. She gets the concept there are decent wines to be had for under $20. She appreciates the thrill of the hunt for these wines, AND ALL THAT. However, after all the tasting fun is completed during hors d’ouvres she wants tBoW to know when the main course arrives she expects a glass of good wine to accompany.
Fortunately, tBoW did not have to bear this assault alone. The perceptive and fearless Dotor√© was present to get to the bottom of things. It turns out she has grown increasingly less fond of the choices placed in front of her the past year. The Missus misses a fruit forward, rich California wine, preferably a pinot noir. Dotor√© concludes “there is no question these southwestern France wines are an acquired taste and radically different from California products. However, there is also no question if you are looking for value wines today do not waste your time with California”.
tBoW says he’ll handle the wine, the Missus will get her fruity reds, but we really should let an authority weigh in on domestic differences and mending fences.

Onto the wines with help from friends and other innocent bystanders.
JR Auvige MV06.jpg2006 M√¢con-Villages Vendanges Manuelles Auvige $15: Robert Chadderdon selection. How quickly we forget! Reviewed in Jan 08. Loved it then. Love it now. White Burgundy that is special not only because it meets the U20 criterion but because it is so dang tasty. Lean with some butter, mostly Chardonnay fruit, apple fruit. Meant to be drunk young. Been drinking this most of the summer. May I say it blows away domestic efforts with Chardonnay? Youbetcha. Has not failed yet. 13%
Gauby06.jpg2005 Domaine Gauby Les Calcinaires $22: The perfect wine for returning to the world after hanging on for dear life with a dreaded summer cold. Rousillon village wine with just the right spice and cherries to remind me that I had been living on cough syrup the previous 3 nights. We all know how the palate goes on the fritz in the face of running snot and throat-like-rasping-tool…non-stop. OK. Enough whining and back to the wine-ing!! “Although initially the wines were tannic and extracted, Gauby has moved towards a more balanced elegant style in recent years, and the wines are much better for it.” Credit the Wine Doctor who is always worth reading. Get the rest of his enlightening Gauby review here. Predominantly Grenache which is a grape I favor especially when made like this. I should have known; another brilliant Peter Weygandt Selection. A very civilized 13% alcohol level (unattainable if you are making wine in SoCal).
k6.jpgL’Oustal Blanc K6 $16: Winemaker Claude Fonquerle from MInervois. 100% 100 year old Carignane vines. In poker that could be the Minervois nut nut. Fruity for French wine however perhaps not so much for an inspired Southwestern France vintner looking for some New World love. Another Peter Weygandt Selection. I am thrilled that I can publish a photo from Minerovis which is an ancient Cathar stronghold where 200 locals were burnt at the stake in the 13th century following a long and religiously righteous siege. Minerve.jpgAnd what goes on with Minervois wines? Let Peter Weygandt’s website tell that story. And this wine in particular? Can you say 2/3 in concrete vats. That is why they call it Old World. Cannot argue with the delicious results at phenomenal value. 13.5%
A few brief words about the Cathars. Some refer to the decades-long assault on Southwestern residents of the culturally distinct and independent land known as the Oc as the 4th Crusade; the only crusade fought on European soil. Led northern French nobility, in particular Simon de Montfort, under the auspices of the Papacy soldiers dedicated 120 days (a quatraine) to seeking out and destroying enemies of the Papal state, banished from Rome at that time.
The times roughly coincided with the fatal attack on the Knights Templar and, like in that dark-of-night blitzkrieg, the aim was to grab whatever wealth and title could be had with a ruthless and merciless military maneuver under the blessing of a besieged religious institution (that would be the Catholic Church). [ed. twilight on the plaza in Carcasonne]
The Cathars were doomed precisely because they were a very popular religious sect whose leaders eschewed the fine clothing and crusty rings favored by local Catholic priests. [ed. In today’s mondo vino is it unfair to characterize terroir driven winemakers as the Cathars, the all-homogenizing Pope as Michel Rolland, and Parker as swordsman Simon de Montfort?] Cathar priests wore simple unadorned robes and sandals and walked throughout the region preaching simple life, sexual abstinence (I never said they were perfect, although the holiest Cathars were known as Perfects), healthy nutritious diets, and living a life devoted to joining the heavenly Father after death. They also believed the earth was actually hell and the Pope and all his minions were devils.
They were harmless as a military threat however they were the very definition of sedition and it was their intention to undermine the Holy Roman Church. The Church referred to them as Albigensians because the city of Albi was an open – and defiant – Cathar religious center. Of course, one of the most quoted lines was uttered by th Inquisitor Abbott Arnaud when ordering the wholesale slaughter of 20,000 Beziers inhabitants: “kill them all, God will know his own”. [ed. Beziers cathedral above]
Here is a video pitch for a book I have not read that covers (romanticizes?) the era. Romanticizing the Cathars is easily done since the events that occurred frequently appear in culture (films, books) without really linking one and all. For example, Dan Brown’s books in some if not large part derive directly from Templar and Cathar history and beliefs.
2006 Romano Dogliotti La Caudrina Moscato d’Asti $17: Another super wine to serve first on a summer evening wherever you are. Fizzy, even frothy in the glass. Not too sweet. Good acid, balanced, excellent. At the end of the night looking back we liked it as much as any other wine poured. 5.5%
2007 Domaine de Rieux Cotes de Gascogne $10: Vin de Pays from Gascony by P. Grassa. Lovely, steely, green melon flavors. Minerals. Refreshing. Screw top says drink me every day. 10%
1997 Josef Friedrich Oppenheimer Krötenbrunnen Auslese: Cellar purging yields this forgotten item. The ghosts of fruits that once were here, now faded. I did find a 2001 review that raved. oppenheimer vyrd.jpgStill, quality Riesling is present with some petrol, elder flower and linden flavors. If you are curious here is an excellent description of all the terms on the label. Here is a photo of the village where Josef Friedrich calls home. Kinda steep. 9%
2005 Michel Sarrazin Mercurey: Imported by North Berkeley Wine. Dried out, light tannins, bitter. Not a tasty wine. May be the wine that pushed the Missus over the top. Even Kobe misses pay ups [ed. news to me.]. 13%
2003 Terres de Truffes Cave TerraVentoux $12: The Cotes du Ventoux is a Rhone appellation known for black truffles. This wine is made by Bruno Clement who is a leading harvester in the region and owns the most prominent regional restaurant for cooking with truffles. Sounds good to tBoW! 60% Grenache, 40% Syrah can be a heavenly blend. This is a very nice wine with some stuffing and plenty of forward fruit. Grenache blended with Syrah can show a creamy texture and flavors in the right hands. The Missus was able to enjoy it once she evacuated her festering opinions. 13.5%
Postscript to the lovely Missus…the 2003 TerraVentoux is why we hunt. Wonderful wine, made locally in the cooperative winery, tasting like something the vintner imagined. And $12. Can’t beat that with a hockey stick.

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