the Inland Empire, wine destinaton

Monrovia postcard 1923.jpgThe Inland Empire sounds so mythical. A region east of downtown LA, even east of Pasadena. A land of small towns with main streets that architecturally blend “old town” and “small town modern life”. Inspiration for a thousand master degree dissertations in urban planning. Stops on the road to local skiing. A place where the most unlikely dining spots might turn up. Perhaps hobbits and dragons.Monrovia postcard 2.jpg
tBoW accepted an invite to a wine tasting at a local restaurant; only a 60 mile ride each way. In the rain. We are at Cafe Massilia in Monrovia a Provencal inspired dining spot owned and operated by a pair of Frenchmen who have created their French bistro in a tiny but comfortable space with dark wood and red curtains. Food is very good. Location is a quaint downtown neighborhood. One of those Inland Empire towns linked like a centipede from Pasadena to Riverside. This is where the families from the Midwest and Mountain states came to find a new life. Now we go there to find something vinous, tasty and warm on a cold rainy evening. Here is the field report.
2007 Quincy Vignoble des Courdereaux $10: Quincy is a tiny region in the Loire Valley de Courderaux is one of the smallest villages in the tiny region. I dare anyone to find where this place is! The grape is Sauvignon Blanc. Grassy nose. Reminds my tasting partner of his father’s home concoction for treating colds and respiratory ailments…Vicks Vaporub in the mouth, on the lips, up the schnozz. Me too. Citric flavors, acidic, a bit sour but not at all unpleasant. A couple months early. This will be a great summer drink. 12.5%
gille cote de Nuits vlg.jpg2005 Cote de Nuit Village Domain Gille $19: Now here is a wine I have not seen in my local haunts. Makes tBoW wonder who is distributing in these parts. Nice light pinot color. Spicy, acidic, a bit shrill. Some cinammon, lean narrow flavors along the beet continuum. 13%
2006 Domaine Gille Pinot Noir $20: Note this is from the riper vintage in Burgundy. With the Pinot Noir designation this is not even a village wine. Is there less selection involved? Or is this an entry level blend of the best of what did not go into the vineyard designated bottles? The wine is sweet. Tannins are softer. There is saltiness and cherry flavors. This has to be a wine made -and named – for the US market.
susansterling.jpg2007 Aligote Chateau des Charmes $15: The quite elder wine host this evening pours this bottle with some excitement. There may even be some Gallic pride evident. He points Aligote is not a Chardonnay substitute or alternative. The nose and flavors show peppermint and honey. High acid with bright flavors. He is right. This is not a poor man’s Chardonnay. It is more like a working man’s Viognier!
WHOA!! In searching for this label online [ed. tBoW likes to collect his own images but often must rely on the Internet for images.] look what I found. Susan Sterling’s very entertaining wine reviews. Very much in the tBoW style – except she is on video – this is a slick-produced little bit on the above named wine. Titled “The Naked Wine Show” Ms. Sterling uses her craftily-placed-just-off-camera charms to blow away Gary Vaynerchuk with appeal he can never muster. I mean she’s South African right?
maladrets2006.jpg2005 Domaine Maladrets Beaujolais Village $15: How interesting they pour this bottle last…with the cheese plate. The wine is the most fruity and most robust of the evening. It is a blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay. This is the wine to buy. I have to find where.
As we leave the hosts are enjoying their meal with family and friends at a table for 8. Bon apetit! Well done.

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