Posts belonging to Category Languedoc



Hey Mr Covid19! We’re Still Drinking Wines!!

IS THAT ALL YOU GOT MR. CORONA?

Not Impressed. Not By a Long Shot. We Are Hunkering down and drinking wine and..and..and..so much more!!

tBoW and pals – and the occasional drifter – are spending more time on zoom than an Easter/Passover congregant. Thanks to the Desert Wine Shop – who shipped us a case for $154 including shipping – we have plenty of libations with which to celebrate the High Holy Days. Of course we also have a cellar. I mean a proper one; not a bedroom stuffed to the gills with cases of indeterminate labels. WORD: those cases have been curated by the indomitable Krisses…so you can be certain those boxes are filled with obscure delights…the kind one might find in shops like these https://shopobscuraantiques.com/ once featured on the TV show Oddities [ed. find entire seasons on youtube].

We are still accumulating wines for the long haul. As the history of pathogens has shown humankind for 700 years, this shit don’t just disappear. Now we have the anthropocene to consider [ed. for a heavy dose of pandemic history and microbial science you can read all about it here]. Thanks to pal CarltheBrain – CtB-  for the info. For sheer entertainment – while drinking worthwhile wines – check out the daily press briefings from the White House. How soon before the Big Cheeto comes to the podium looking like Iron Man above?

Here is how we have been entertaining ourselves and staying sane.

2018 Chateau d’Oupia Minervois Les Heretiques $10.56: Absolutely incredible. The perfect tBoW wine. Balanced? Check. Tasty fruit backed by some grit? Check. Balanced? Already said that. OK. How about the wine is true to the region? Super check. This is important. Light to middleweight. How often do we taste a wine that is reminiscent of somewhere other than it was grown? Too often. This is mostly (100%) Carignane from the Languedoc where tBoW visited in 2001. Yup. One month before Nine Eleven. The wine growing region 20 years was still regarded as chump change in the world of French super locales, i.e., Burgundy and Bordeaux. The mini-locales included Minervois, Corbières and Coteaux-du-Languedoc. Château d’Oupia is the winery. Who knew the site is legendary! We can tell you the wine meets the hype…and that is before we knew there was any hype. We called Katie at Desert Wine Shop grabbed another quad.

2009 Esprit de Tablas $45. The Tablas Creek winery was iconic. The first major site/venture in the USA to NOT plant Cabernet and Bordeaux varietals. Chose to go with Rhone grapes that suited the weather! Duh. And they started a nursery with vines imported from the Rhone. But one must wait on these collectible wines…and that can sooo haaaard. tBoW often failed and pulled a cork on a tough, tannic monster “before its time.” Then we had to “aerate” like a Brooklyn launderer. Had to purchase multiple kinds of aerators to do it better and faster. Thankfully we found other wines like Burgundies and Altopiemonteses to distract ourselves. Now it is time to clear the TC remainders. Today the tough tannic monster is a much softer patch of heavy sweet grass. Color is dark. Weight is middle to heavy. Flavors? Sappy but short of syrup. These wines were too ripe when harvested. And still too ripe! Double duh. Towards the earthy style. Find friends who always wanted to drink well-aged classic collectible wines from California. And drink up!

2018 A.A. Baadenhorst The Curator $8.06. Another Katie pick. Red Blend from South Africa. Already tBoW is skeptical. I texted KrisB “easily most memorable wine I have had from South Africa.” KrisB response? – “those are words seldom associated with South African wine.” The wine is pleasant. Even enjoyable. I wouldn’t chill it like the Spanish summer red wine the color of vampiric blood. slugged down on the balcony of a Sevilla hotel in July. Before I could text Katie…Mrs. tBoW said “nice label kinda art deco you think?” But…but…the wine itself is so…what’s that word? MEH. What is the problem with South African wines? Start with Pinotage…”a red wine grape that is South Africa’s signature variety. It was bred there in 1925 as a gutsy cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault.” A nation blended two grapes so it could have its own “unique signature” grape? DUMB. Mrs. tBoW likes it. Red wines do not always agree with her, esp the kind of wines we favor which have balancing acid that brings out nuances when well made. OK. This is quaffable. Inoffensive drink. The Shania Twain of reds. The perfect “food wine” for any season. Let’s get more, she suggests. 2 more from DWS! Now I am at a half case!

2015 Domaine Tortochot Morey St Denis $35: Still young. Early middle age like KrisB and Ikorb. Great color deep ruby. Complex flavors. Cherries more than beets. Supremely balanced with a slight tilt to elegance. Think Jane Fonda in Barbarella…[ed. watched the movie recently]. Could go another 3 years ez. Burgundy. King of wines. Medieval. Vineyards passed down thru the family for centuries. Hard to say no when the right offer comes. So we do not…say no.

Dr. John wants to help us all cast a demonic spell on Mr Covid19. Might work. Nobody knows. Give a listen. Gris gris gumbo ya ya.

 

Wine in the Time of Corona

Making Sense of Chaos.There’s a message here.

It’s a pandemic. Nothing to sillify. Very serious. However if the moron in the White House can act a fool then so can tBoW!! With apologies to all seriously concerned scientists, citizens and guests…tBoW just wants to chat about wines he has tasted recently. Of course the pandemic has impacted the wine business. Amazingly some wine tours remain hopeful for May. The wine tasting conference business is also reconsidering the drunken soirees, uh…we mean serious considerations of wine science. We think about our favorite shops in Palm Springs and Woodland Hills and we are confident they are still in business. Having said that…

Just because one is scared silly with a serious illness running out of control around the world is no reason to shut the shutters and abandon healthy habits. Wash your hands. Do not touch your face! Keep social distance. Pull some corks. This too will pass. In fact…just stay the heck home. It will all be over in April…I mean June…maybe September?

Here is how tBoW has been hunkering down. We pulled corks.

2009 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beuacastel 14.5% $: TC is somewhat fussy in the guise of being informative. The exact percentages of each grape in a blend are right there on the label. This is 40% Mourvedre, nearly equal proportions Syrah and Grenache and a taste of Counoise. Nobody loves a little counoise more than Dotore and tBoW. Bought this on release [ed. tBoW was a subscriber back then]. An example of being beyond the pale. Past its peak for certain but not over the hill. Choco bread evoking a Holiday Fruit cake. Held on for 36 hours which is impressive. We drank a decade worth of TC. Someone else can pull the cork. We prefer Burg and Altopiemonte [ed. seriously, folks are suffering terribly north of Milan].

2015 Marchesi di Barolo Maraia Barbera del Monferrato 13% $: Surprise! Not too tanic. Hardly even tannic. Yummy out of the bottle. Kermit selection? Think so. Some cranberry. Ripe and young.

2016 Cap O Sud 11-14% $16: Got this at Woodland Hills Wine Co. What a deal. From the Sud which is the southwest region of France. THis region is so funky and down home in overproduction years the unsold juice has been used as house fuel. I KID YOU NOT. tBoW and kin visited on a superb holiday in 2001. The region was completely uncool; not even close to being on the radar of the wine cognoscenti. How did we know to go? Soon as someone suggested going to Provence that was it. No frigging way were we going to sit in an overcrowded sheeshee spot eating overpriced food so when we get home we can say we were in Aix en Provence. Try Capistaing, Puisserguier and Carcassonne withe the surrounding wall to wall vineyards. This is the kind of wine you get from the Sud. Still unfashionable [ed. maybe a bit more fashionable – I believe Desert Wine Shop has some]. Vintage? Shmintage. Pizza and burger wine.

2018 Andre et Michel Quenard Chignin-Bergeron Les Terasses 13.5%, $35 (discounted from this): Kermit Lynch import. 100% Rousanne grown at elevation. KL says racy. tBoWadds frisky and refreshing. Imagine Esther Williams when she was fresh and new…in a bottle of wine. Kermit is not the cheapest wine vendor. He is the most sure handed. Hard to buy a bottle that does not please.

The TikTok video below is actually very cool. The fellows are showing kids how to wash their hands to avoid the novel corona! Huge views among tweeners.

Wine Reviews Bold As Love

still rainin' still dreamin'

still rainin’ still dreamin’

This heat wave have sapped tBoW’s strength. It is all we can do to pull corks and take notes. Nowatisane? reguscichard11WEBSo here they are. Fortunately, all wines tasted were deliciously notable.

2011 Regusci Chardonnay Stags Leap District Mary’s Cuvee $40 online: The power of an AVA in full glory! Stags Leap baby. Regusci is about as down home as it gets in Napa and especially Stags Leap. Authentic Napa juice. Some might say “legit.” Purchased at the winery couple years back. We raved about the Burgundian nature then. Poop. This is pure California Chardonnay juice. CorbRose13WEBGets 14 mos American oak. Serve it cold. Bracing feral flavors. If I was up there I am sure I would buy this bottle again. 14.2%

2013 Château Ollieux Romanis Corbières Rosé $16: Cuts through the spicy tuna poke. Good match. Acid and fruit makes a formidable combo. Melon flavor but what kind? Must be tangelo [ed. uh, not a melon]. Corbieres is Cab Franc country. This is 28% Cinsault and 35% Grenache Gris 35%. cambiata12WEBYes. We think the balance of 37% is Grenache Noir. Love the Languedoc. Must return soon! U20 alert.

2012 Cambíata Albariño Monterey $18: Not like a New World wine. Honeydew melon rind flavor. Bit of clove [ed. he stole that]. Perfect on a late summer evening outside. Label says “Albariño: Bold As Love.” Cool. Jimi. Another U20 winna. 14.5%

At 2:49 of this revered and underrated Hendrix composition he takes off on a riff that makes me misty every time every time every time I hear it.

Dom 85!! Who knew?? Harvey Kurtzman knew.

cosmic comic juice for a young mind

cosmic comic juice for a young mind

This post is being written in a downpour of potrzebie popup ads. Not good. We have wines and events of import to review so let’s plunge ahead with another furshlugginer post.

First things first. Happy Birthday to Dotoré. OK. That is taken care of. The venerable and toothsome reporter and hopeless Dodger fiend owes tBoW $20. We will have to pull some corks.

Hurricane Iselle blew itself into a Tropical Storm. Family living on the Big Island survived the tempest on Mauna Kea.

Happy birthday to Peewee, loyal Young’un and bad MoFo, who enthusiastically hosts her Payola Show at Paolis Pizza joint Tuesday nights. Congrats to original Young’uns Sawa M and REL now gainfully employed so they will soon be popping their own corks with tBoW and The Geezer Troop.

Favorite Somm Jen Carter is no longer at Saddle Peak Lodge which means that wonderful place with all the potential that she was able to realize, will fall from its roost as the go-to spot in the Calabasas boonies. Jen did a fab job there and we will miss her. Until we find out where she takes up hosting and toasting in a new venue! Please let us know Jen!

In the midst of all, we have had some notable wines to present.

dom85WEB1985 Dom Perignon $300 (TAFI wine): No need to say champagne right? This is THE champagne. Imagine Bond calling for 1952 Dom Perignon, chilled, in From Russian With Love. This wine came serendipitously to the tBoW clan as a random raffle prize. I know huh? Provenance unknown which is to say who knows how it was stored. We popped the cork and poured. Perfect bubbles, tight and abundant. But the flavor was revelation. Every Dom we have ever had has been steely bordering on austere. This was no fat big boy Krug but it did show golden color, apple flavors and it was delicious! Sometimes the world tilts ever so slightly and something falls into your lap. Truly memorable. Spectacular. 13%melville-1-WEB

melvillPN02WEB The review to the left is not the work of popup ads or even an overzealous editor. It is tBoW’s policy to try and not say anything directly unkind, uncaring or unfriendly when it comes to bad wine. The harshest term we will is PLONK. However, we could not help expressing the 180 degree turnabout in our wine palate since 2001. The Melville wines represent that switch. The general movement in the direction of food friendly, natural, under or even unoaked wines had something to do with our redirect. Mostly, tBoW has always wanted to apply Harvey Kurtzman’s humor from the Mad magazines of his yoof in a wine blog.

TCPano05WEB2005 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Panoplie $80: The highest end selection from the greatest Central Coast winery. Still not ready! This is the top selection and it tastes that way… all the way. Dense dark red blood robed liquid. More like a Southern Italian Negro Amaro. Only bigger. TC wines are never about heavy tannins. However, the reds are very long aging. Had it with steak and the beef had to put up a fight. Stick with the whites… long as they are seven years post bottling. Blows by the Melville monster. 15%.coston10WEB

2010 Domaine Coston Terrasses du Larzac Languedoc $20: One of the last of the Great Garagiste selections in the cellar. A wine that can do the tango. Sophisticated in a very local way. Imagine an Argentine man in his 50s stepping through the porteño ritual dance. Light on its feet with the gravitas only a country defeated in in every war it ever fought could understand. Outstanding.

Bond is unable to turn down Dom Perignon 1959, from You Only Live Twice.

The Best of Inter-Summer Holidays

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Atlanta Botanical Garden

Spring ended May 23. Summer begins June 21. The weeks between are the Inter-Summer. The Inter-Summer party is held sometime over the Memorial Day extended weekend. Sunday seems ideal. Prepare leisurely on Saturday and recover even more leisurely on Monday. There is little going in the way of sports distractions. No Stupid Bores or Solemnly traditional golf tourneys. Just a nice long weekend to think about those who have served in wars… hang with pals, serve some food and pull some corks. Keep an open mind.

2010 Vignobles de Balma-Venitia Vacqueyras Cuvée St.-Roch $20: Vacquerays is a southern Rhone region that is generally under-publicized unlike neighbors Gigondas and Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Wines are Grenache dominant. Simply put, expect value from Vacquerays wines. Notes borrowed on this bottle from the Internet say “Pure and focused, showing blood orange, St-Roche-VaqueraysWEBplum sauce and bitter cherry notes laced with plum pit and anise, with a mineral-tinged finish. Drink now through 2016. 32,400 cases made.” Plum pit? If tBow warn’t so lazy he might write… “nice, easy to drink red wine with character, ordered off the list in foreign city east of Sepulveda. A welcome compromise that satisfied the palates of a zin lover and a couple of related Old World tasters. Friendly with all food ordered by 14 people with wandering and alien palates.” A label we would never see in LA! 13%

oiseletWEB2011 Domaine Yannick Pelletier Saint-Chinian L’Oiselet $20: This bottle presents the problem with natural wines. As the somm presented, quickly grasping our naive interest in n-a-t-u-r-a-l wines he mentioned L’Oiselet uses no sulfides whatsoever at all no way no how. When he mentioned the wine is grown in schist it was game point and set for Matt the Somm. We bought. He decanted. Took 45 minutes to open. The juicy “attack” [ed. nice old school “taster” gab, you geek] finally lost energy but not in the new style taster geeky vocab way. The wine just got tired like some thoroughbreds do in the final stretch and the race looks like it is in slo’ mo’. This wine blends Grenache, Cinsault, Carignan, and Syrah. That’s two grapes of which tBoW is not fond. In sum, we would not buy again altho’ we are now huge fans of Husk Somm Matt. Did we mention the wine list is organized by soil type? Smart. 14.5%

cebeneWEB 2010 Domaine de Cébène $25 (Garagiste): This is the last of the great Garagiste offers. Or at least the last we ordered. This is a wine of some celebrity. As Jancis Robinson has posted online “Brigitte Chevalier acquired in 2007 a ​​few acres of vines on amazing terroirs in the Languedoc. 20 km from the Mediterranean, its first vines rooted deep within a single large land and marine sediments villafranchien. bc-oligny1WEBThe other vineyard is perched on the balconies of shale oriented due north at the top of the Faugères. Judicious choice of this great terroir shale, associated with very low yields and its work in the service of their acidity.” Allow me to translate for foolish wine tasters who will buy anything written in a style that immediately penetrates the subconscious mind. Countrified winemaking woman grows small production on perfect soil in last place you would expect to find it, quantities are sufficiently small so that you might never see it. Bingbaddabing. BUY NOW. Languedoc winemakers are wonderfully free to blend whatever they like. There is a nice array of vinifera available from the recognizable mainstream to the less recognizable local fruit. This wine delivers kinky character, high acids and dry flavors that with some air rounds out just enough to put on toe shoes. Winnah. The blend is Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre which omits the two Languedoc grapes [ed. i.e. Carignane and Cinsault] that make us wrinkle our nose. 13%

Memorial Day down south

Memorial Day down south

Mr. and Mrs tBoW were surprised to see CSA flags in the Magnolia Cemetery a week before Memorial Day. We did see a very few Union flags next to ancient headstones. There are many Revolutionary War soldiers buried in this incredible cemetery outside the city. There was a separate plot for the dozen or more crewmen of the Hunley, a CSA submarine that sank in Charleston harbor before it could do much damage. Many Civil War soldiers were returned to their native homes for burial on Southern soil.

Johnny Horton had a hit in 1960 with “Johnny Reb.” Horton was born and lived in Los Angeles but he lived most of his life in the South. He was a career songwriter who wrote “saga” songs like “Battle of New Orleans” and “North to Alaska.” He died in 1960 while driving at the height of his success. He was in an inescapable head on collision on a Louisiana bridge. Here is Johnny Cash giving all the glory he can muster to this hit record from 1960. Funny world.