Posts belonging to Category Languedoc



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.

Tasting the Unknown Known & the Serious Unserious

in the Petaluma Wind Gap

in the Petaluma Wind Gap

Sometimes things look better from a distance; for example, “industry wine tastings.” We know wine biz doods who do these tastings all the time. Bloggers is different. We are wine industry detritus, effusion, effluence. We had to detail our credentials so we could attend this tasting held in the former Campanille now the newer Republiqué. No problem.

We have not been back to Campanile since we bumped into Liz Taylor and sat next to Hal Linden when this space was the über glam place to dine. liz-movei-starWEBOK, Linden was a popular and funny TV star but Liz… Hollywood royalty.

Return To Terroir bills themselves as “wine importer and wine educators” committed to natural wines and showcasing new young winemakers. But wine is a business and the unwritten goal is to entice brokers and dining room buyers to grab a case or more at deeply discounted wholesale prices. Hot trend plus cheap buys will motivate plenty of biz pros. That gave the tBoW tasting team plenty ’nuff to chew on. Here is what we found and liked.

Prices are suggested/estimated retail.

tBoW crony Jim Ruxin was finishing his early round. He quickly steered us to the international sparklers and white wines where we found some delightful tastes. When the afternoon’s sloshing and spitting and chatting was over, Ruxin was right. The whites showed best.

bullechampnvWEBNV Charles Dufour Bulle de Comptoir #2 Champagne Extra Brut $34: 55% Pinot Noir, 35% Chardonay, 10% Pinot Blanc. This is the real stuff. No sulfur, native yeast only, organic cane sugar, 28 y.o. winemaker who looks like Jean Paul Belmondo and his wife is Brigitte Bardot’s granddaughter [ed. merde]. “Funky” say Kris B and Ruxin. Lean, bright acidity. As Sirene Virbila says “farmer fizz.” No. We did not see her although a couple non-survivors from the once star-studded LA Times food and wine critics pool were spotted. This wine was a great start that established the credibility of returntoterroir the wine business committed to sustainable, organic and biodynamic wines and the new wave of young natural winemakers.

riffaultquart09WEB2011 Sebastien Riffault Sancerre Blanc “Les Quarterons” $19: Yung Taster – “this wine has more energy.” tBoW “what is that?” Wine Pro – “a wine that has energy is a nervy wine.” And I cannot make it any more clear. Have you ever had a shiver run up your spine? Like reading these notes? 12%

riffaultakam09WEB2009 Sebastien Riffault Sancerre Blance “Akmenine” $24: YT says Alice Feiring describes the Riffault wines as becoming more like Sauvignon Blanc with age. He must have said something else as that does not make sense. The team liked both Sauvignon Blanc wines. Mr. Riffault is 26 y.o. He “refuses to sacrifice quality for principle.” [ed. the R2T notes actually wrote “principal” which tBoW readers will note in this case is not the correct form of the word . tBoW is available as final editor on tasting notes.] Yeh. I know. 12%

felinepicpoulWEB2012 Felines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet $unk: Ligurian white wines are usually harmless. This 100% Picpoul was acidic, fresh, bright. Served cold it showed all its charm. Price unknown but we will bet it goes well under $20. Ka-Ching. 12%

hauteselve12WEB2012 Chatueau Haut Selve Graves Blanc $17: Showing a light touch. White Bordeaux wines often get far less attention than the upper crust reds. Solid winemaking. Refreshing with some pedigree. 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Gris. Sauv Gris? The estate was wiped out by phylloxera in the 19th century, purchased and replanted in 1993. First new winery built in Graves in 20th century blah blah. We liked this wine and would probably buy it. 13%

ansonica12WEB2012 Ansonica Costa dell’Argentario $6: Steal of the tasting. This is beyond cheap. What a terrific wedding or graduation wine. 90% Ansonico and 10% Vermentino. We taste the Vermentino and like it. Top heavy. The flavors sit atop the fleshy body. High hat. More body than the Ligurian or a Verdejo. Appealing summer sipper [ed. more like slugger]

Tasting Interlude: YT (Yung Taster) and WP (Wine Pro) tried to force two Lambrusci on tBoW. Everyone has their own peccadillos. YT urged “This is seriously unserious wine.” [ed. doesn”t that make Lambrusco the Unknown Known of wine?]

One red impressed tBoW.

tire_pe_diemWEB2012 Chateau Tire Pe Diem $10: 100% Merlot certified 100% organic in 2011 after purchasing the run down winery in 1997. They are part of a winemaker group called “containssulfitesbutnottoomuch.” We would by this on the story alone BUT the wine is also lovely. Grown on limestone and clay with native yeasts in cement tanks. No oak. Yay. This wine has energy and is even nervy. U20 and easily my favorite red. Ka Ching. 13%

One new New World winery stood out for three reasons: limited selection, most interesting domestic white wine, and most unlikely wine site – Clear Lake (photo of Lakeville vineyard above).

weichi-semillon_frontWEB2012 Wei Chi Luchsinger Vineyard Semillon $21: I can explain the fuzzy label photo. Wei Chi refers to Before Completion in the I Ching. Winemaker Ross Hallett commented “no wine is ever completed, right?” This wine is made from 15 y.o. vines at 1300 foot elevation, near Clear Lake, California’s meth capitol. This will be his first release. It is strikingly fresh and impressive in that it is a 100% Semillon. Should have asked if he has tasted the Kalin oxidated version. I Ching? More like Ka Ching. 11.4%

A fun tasting that showed many very interesting wines which fulfilled the R2T advertising. Thank you Jean-B going to bat for a blogger.

Liz Taylor, Richard Burton, Eva Marie Saint, Esalen, middle aged hippies… I’m alive!

New World vs Old World: Shifting Fields & Dreams

cupcake batter

cupcake batter

The division between the New and the Old Worlds of wine may be shifting. What isn’t? Not talking NDLS even though Los Doyers are hitting big and takin’ no prizners. We could be talking global warming which may be changing the way the Old World and New World play ball [ed. you had to bring that up didn’t you]. Old World wines may be more fruity than before. Pinot Noir from Germany and Alto Adigio may rival Burgundy. The cooler Willamette Valley may be getting more annual sunny days raising the fruit flavors and alcohol levels for what we consider to be the ablest region for Pinot Noir in the nation. Farmers in the Kohanagen Valley in Canada – recently limited to “ice” dessert wines – are growing warm weather varietals. Los Doyers will play for the National League title. Kiffin is GONE. Do any mysteries remain? (more…)