Trimming with wine for the Holiday

I have begun to think of my cellar as a bunker. Members of the tBoW tasting team seem to share this view. The Act of Purging is as essential as other necessary functions that keep a storage center clean. We don’t want “impacted” cellars. Here is what the Venice tBoW tasting team came up with recently at a hosted dinner on a balmy winter Saturday night in LA.
white star.jpgNV Moet & Chandon White Star $30: Who buys this wine? I am guessing I had my last bottle of White Star more than 20 years ago. Probably longer but who’s counting? I might have been counting if I remembered the marque wine of Moet as having distinct lemon and pear flavors backed with a clear and firm spine. Rich and a bit sweet. Is it worth $30? Probably because I am hard pressed to think of another $30 champagne that would produce something supposed to be consistent this consistently (that is what a marque wine is supposed to do). Check out the smarmy corporate marketing video here. Who made this? Hammer Studios? tBoW liked the wine and encourages you to lower your snob quotient and accept any pours you may be offered this holiday season. Widely available at Kirkland Nation (aka Costco).
TCroussanne05.jpg2005 Tablas Creek Roussanne $24: They make this wine in two styles. This is the “traditional, i.e., French” one. A bit smoky, aged in oak. Firm with pear and melon fruit flavors. Actually restrained and needing time to open a bit. Only 600 cases. 14.3 %
Arnaud picpoul 2006.jpg2006 Arnaud Gaujal Picpoul de Pinet $13: Value wine from the value region of Southwest France. We do not need a recession to recognize there are wines from the Languedoc that are and have been great finds for years. Delightful bright and fresh. You cannot go wrong with this wine. Serve it with salad and it holds up to any dressing I can think of [ed. the white wine acid test]. I know this will read wrong BUT the nose and flavor reminded me of shaving cream. A bit soapy but that is the dryness. Well balanced. Nothing out of sort. A tBoW bargain and I would buy it if I saw it. 13%
2000 Petit Figeac.jpg2000 Ch Petit-Figeac St-Emilion Grand Cru $40: Here is (one of) the problem(s) with Bordeaux. You can’t tell the all-stars from the journeymen. Case in point. Chateau Figeac is a big hitter. Highly collectible (if you collect Bordeaux). And a St Emilion which is at southern end of the Girond and mostly if not all Merlot. But there are only about another dozen OTHER wines with the name Figeac. There is Franc Figeac, Yon Figeac…enough to confuse 2000 Figeac.gifthe Figeac family not to mention the unsuspecting consumer. This particular Figeac wine is from the 2000 vintage that actually delivered on the century wine hyperbole. Everybody buy now! The wine was tasty. Needed time to open up but then that is pretty standard with Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot-Cab Franc blends from Bordeaux. Drink enough of them and you will pine for the good old easy going big and blowsy Napa versions. You have to like Cabernet a lot to buy these wines. And you have to like the French style which means sit and wait 10 years or an hour. 13%
1998 Blanzac.jpg1998 Ch Blanzac Cotes de Castillon $20: Another uncelebrated (at least outside France and England) region near Bordeaux. This is another problem with Bordeaux wines. Wine collectors who wish to impress ASAP with their wine knowledge can easily “master” the First Growth wines of Bordeaux. There are only five. Too bad the 1st growths are so pricey because what good is newfound knowledge without opening the stuff you are touting? Of course, as in most of France (as well as Spain and Italy not to mention Austria and Germany), there is plenty of very good wine in the less heralded corners of the region. Mastery in the petit regions of Bordeaux, however, is another matter. Like studying for the LSAT. tBoW and Dotor√© long ago realized if one is going to study wine then one may as well study the OTHER region of France with equally difficult lessons and infinitely greater rewards. That would be Burgundy. dune_sandworm_art.gifThis nice Merlot was tight upon opening even at 10 years and even though from the unglamorous Cotes de Castillon. So chances are it was well made. It never had a chance to open because our host sucked it down like a sandworm hunting spice. He said he liked it. Urp. 13%
The dinner was Cassoulet which is a typical dish in the Languedoc. The red wines typical of Languedoc are Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. tBoW taster Tootsie usually does it up pretty good.

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