Posts belonging to Category Loire Valley



Est arrivé Fall mais oui poo poo? Vive le bezbol!!

boobly in zee zummer zo nize

boobly in zee zummer zo nize

October brings seasonal changes everywhere except California and Florida. The autumn leaves turn colors. The days dwindle down. September. November.

October doesn’t rhyme. Here in sunny SoCal days cool off with daily highs in the 80s. You have to take a jacket if dining in Culver City, the cultural capitol of West LA. The A-Frame is the hot spot. A little bit of Portland right here in LA.

Roy Choi takes over a custom built Der Wienerschnitzel in an A frame building. Food comes out in small plates rat-a-tat-tat just like with his food truck. And the wine list is good enough. We ordered the same rose reviewed reicheer last week! UCLAns and Westside millenials packed the bar. With each 30 minutes the looks got hookier. Youth. A-frameWEBThanks to Kevin Eats blog where we got the foto.

Most importantly, baseball playoffs c’est arrivé. tBoW loves championship baseball. The postseason really makes the regular season look more boring than we already know it is. Very much like wines rated on the 100 point scale and wines that simply taste great. The ocean of Parkerized wines hardly makes an impact. But the emergence of unique fetishes like “natural wines” or wines from Mt. Etna or the small towns north of Barolo and Barbaresco… this is championship wine imbibing.

Fine wines we have been tasting are listed below.

allegracore11WEB 2010 Romeo del Castello Etna Rosso Allegracore $23: Old World Cab wine from Mt Etna showed volcanic ash on the perimeter of the mouth, translucent robe, balanced, dignified composure. So Euro. Had this next to unnamed [ed. that would be mean] local Cabernet Sauvignon grown and made in the ‘Bu. The new World/Old World comps are obvious. The New World Cab was only five years old with plenty of fruit and sour overtones. Function of the inexperienced winemaker? Fruit is good enough to make decent wine. Needs a better winemaker. This Old World wine from Mt Etna contineus a string of wonderful wines from the Sicilian volcano. 14%

touraine13WEB2013 Clos Roche Blanche Touraine $20: Old vine Sauvignon Blanc from a vineyard under control of the same family since the late 19th century. Small quantities made with miniscule intervention [ed. dat wooden be natch’l now woodid?]. The winemakers are chemists come to wine. How scientists look at terroir: “Using herbicide forces the vines’ roots to the surface, in which they can effectively grow in the 8 to 10 centimeters of fertile soil that you find anywhere in the world. This isn’t terroir. To get to the terroir you need to go deeper.” Rare bottles nearly extinguished brought back to life with care and dedication… spotty leafed newt? Compromise-driven Republican lawmaker? Water responsible farmers in Central Valley? Turf lawns in Beverly Hills? Maybe not that rare. Grassy hints, yellow gold color as in not pale, firm body. Could play wide receiver for Trojans. 13%

montebro-crianza10WEB2010 Montebro Priorat Crianza $17: By the glass at Peddlers Wine Bistro, local wine bar and dining spot which always pours something unexpected. Like this juicy, light to middle weight Spanish red. U20 winner. 13%

More good news. Jen Carter has relocated to Topanga’s Canyon Bistro. The wine list already shows her fresh approach to value and curiously wonderful wine selections. The food and the setting have always been worth a trip. So goodbye Saddle Peak, hello Canyon B!

Cowabunga!! Labor Day, Monster Surf, Fine Wines

it's booming right now said the lifeguard

“it’s booming” said the lifeguard

The Summer of 2014 officially closed with significant doings in Southern California. The Coastal Commission is ready to impose a ban on further development of vineyards in the new Malibu AVA. Yup. You read it. Malibu is a new AVA. On Wednesday August 27 monster surf provided a once-in-a-decade spectacle when 15 to 20 foot waves crashed up and down the coast of North Los Angeles County. We tasted some monumental gnarly ass wines.

cadelbaio-2010WEB2010 Giulo Grasso Ca’ del Bao Langhe Nebbiolo $23 (Wallys): Langhe on the label usually signifies wine made from traditional Piemonte regions not in Barolo or Barbaresco. It can also signify younger vines. This bottle came from Liquid which is an outlaw itself in wine retail, and a tBoW secret wine spot. Researching this bottle turned up a lovely website with some down home family tidbits about the Grasso family, a cross-winemaking family marriage,and a book I have to check out. Organic growing methods, natural yeasts… all by tradition. This wine is a bit rugged, lean and muscular. iceman-strawmanWEBIt is too young to open unless you aerate mightily. All the good flavors we love in Nebbiolo are there: cherries, exotic earthy, high toned… but not ready. 13.5%

Iceman Angry Orchard Hard Cider $16 (Whole Wallet): 16 oz bottle from Quebec. That equates to a $30 wine. Sweeter than the yummy Virginia hard cider which we WILL BE ORDERING in about 45 days when the heat yields to Autumn in LA; i.e., the 80s. After visiting the website I am certain we would prefer the Strawman bottling. 10%

spungola-2011WEB2011 Spungola Bellaria Pignoletto Emilia Alberto Tedeschi $18: Pretty sure Dotoré picked this up at Domaine LA, his favorite secret wine store. White wine made by an obscure dude toling on his own with an indigenous obscure grape – Pignoletto – with a great name that sounds like a kind of pedicure. tBoW tasted oily, kind of lean. We like that but perhaps it was the atmosphere – adult party. Not impressive. However, you may disagree. We took this from a website.

Cathy Breton se naturel

Cathy Breton se naturel

We just did not get it. “Bronze colored in the glass, the bouquet is one of salt, apricot, and hazelnuts. It is a full wine with rich tannins and flavors of orange blossom, cantaloupe, and toasty coconut.” That reads pretty nice. Everything we like is on the page. I will bet in a small group with less pressure to “interact” this wine will taste much better. Needs another shot! 13%

NV Breton Vouvray Brut “La Dilettante” $20 (K&L says they have it): Sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire. Yeasty, sophisticated, grapefruit rind, acidic. dilettanteWEBLoved it. Big hit with those holding glasses. Made by natural wine organic gorgeous (in photo) winemaker Catherine Breton. Committed to the natural movement! At $19.99 a U20 buy. 12%

catch the twichen groove doods… COWABUNGA!!

Wine Texting ‘n Tasting: Digital Kismet

baby_texting_omg_I_just_gotWine offers hit tBoW’s cellphone like a Spring cloudburst. The deluge of text messages got more strange with each entry. This was actually a good thing as the best tastings are often born of spontaneity and hasty planning, last minute conversations, a profound absence of planning. Add digital communiques. Stir the right blend of fluids and foods, friends of both genders and multi-generational, into a very satisfying brew.

Think of the following texts as the cosmic dust from which a universe of epicurian hip hop spontaneous good times emerge.

Kris1WEB

 

Sandy beach?

Ten years old?

Impending doom???

The first offer of what to bring is never the best offer. However, it must grab one’s attention. Commerical encroachment on a failing commercial enterprise stirs the reolutionary zeal. Bring it!

 

Kris2WEB

 

A strange Loire red wine you say.

Strenj is good…especially in wine.

[ed. I think you mean with not in wine. Strenj is never good in wine. Correct?]

tBoW is sold. Must see what is this strenj wine all about.

 

Kris3WEB

 

Hold the presses!

That’s a lot of information.

Did he text Orange Rieslings that could explode?

Interesting… but no.

Kris4WEB
 
 
 

A third voice entered the text loop at the manic apogee.

“I love a blind Pinot.

And a deaf Nebbiolo.

Not too crazy about a lame Cabernet.”

This wine stayed home.

 

How were the wines?

billiot-champWEBThe H. Billiot Reserve Brut Reserve Grand Cru Champagne $48 12% was fresh and refreshing. Has a severe hand that is in harmony with the seductive. The perfect entry to a long mid Spring evening.

gold-medal-muscadet05WEBThere were two white wines from the same producer, different vintages: the 2011 and 2005 Luneau-Papin 2011 Muscadet “Vielles Vigne” $15 and $33, respectively. The tBoW palate for Muscadet will not be constrained. Muscadet is a lively bantamweight wine that packs some wallop. It won’t knock you out but it will let you know you are in the ring with something formidable. A “perfect” wine for almost any occasion? Note the gold medal. Cue French horns.

The endangered Portuguese and the strange Loire red wines pleased more sophisticated palates than those of tBoW and the hungry sycophants, young’uns and geezers. For the harshly biased taster, however, the red wines showed an ashen nose with nuances of ciggy butts and a hint of unfiltered Pall Malls. Not enough fruit, too much sand. However, the wines did fully deliver on the exotic and unusual scale. We love that.

All in all a completely disruptive evening with wonderfully engaging wines.

Now here is some very good advice.

Burgundy Hoe Down in Old Topanga

Topanga Coast

Topanga Coast

Lucky ole tBoW and Dotoré got invited to a tasting of wines made by Sylvain Pataille. The setting was Old Topanga. There are many neighborhoods in our wonderful city with coolness that ebbs and flows. York Street in Highland Park is über groovy right now with storefronts that say “shop me,” at least one dining establishment [ed. Sonny’s Hideaway?] and a distinctive jeune frisson that appeals to young folks of all ages. York Street is the reawakened district. Old Topanga is the lost outpost. Neither locale is freeway friendly. Driving through unfamiliar zones is required. Forget your GPS. Bring your flashlight and snacks. And remember: when the invite is right we must take back the night. (more…)

the Best and the Worst of Wines 2013

Piemonte vineyards

Piemonte vineyards

Hopppy Noooo Yeeeer! We made it through another holiday season. Reading through Zealot probably helped, placing Jesus in perspective and such. Man… is that guy getting press or what?!? zealotWEB[ed. he means the author, no we are not going to mention his name, that already happens often enuff; wait… maybe that would help click count? Reza Aslan!!] tBoW will follow the herd and host our “best of” column. Of course, we must begin with the “worst of”.

The WORST Holiday Catalog in 2013 came from the venerable Westside wine shop, Wally’s. Founder Steve Wallace sold his “local” shop with the A-list customer directory to the Guess?? brothers in 2013. The new owners let everyone know where they are taking the “insiders” store with their first holiday catalog. wallys-cat-2013WEBThe cover featured the name-artist-created handbag [ed. you sure that’s what it is?] for the name-champagne 2003 Dom Perignon Rosé. Gift baskets for everyone and anyone who knows zip about wine [ed. you’re a snob tBoW]. Spectacularly awful.

The BEST New e-Commerce Site: Steve Goldun finally got his online wine site online before the year closed. It has been worth the wait. Eno Fine Wine has a shopping cart that functions easily, a catalog that features Steve’s succinct prose, and, most of all, wines that reflect Mr. Goldun’s particular palate. If your palate matches up well with Steve’s – i.e., you are really fond of Baroli, Burgs and higly inverted price (low) to quality (high) ratios – then you will be very happy buying your wine here. enofinewineWEBHere are some examples of wines that sometimes can be found elsewhere but not very often for less cost and NEVER with any doubt about what you are buying. Added plus – he understands v-a-l-u-e.

2012 Charles Briords Cuvee Vielles Vignes Muscadet Sevre & Maine Sur Lie $18: We served this wine at a holiday party after six other white wines had already assaulted our collective palates. The fresh rounded citric flavors immediately revived all. This should probably be included in every earthquake kit [ed. thanks for the keynahore]. U20! 12%

2010 Cour-Cheverny Vendanges Manuelles Let Petit Chambord $17: Another stupidly excellent wine and buy. We tasted this after it had been open 10 days. Still lively and fresh. Why Mr. G? “So much acid.” 13%

liquidWEBThe BEST Bricks and Mortar Store: Liquid Party Works. Granted this recognition could go in any year to local fave Woodland Hills Wine Company. However, in 2013 Pete and his Liquid shop blew us away. We picked so many great values out of this store we had trouble sleeping. Pete’s palate is another ting-a-beauty. His inventory mixes the most unusual bottles – the Sudtirol red with a label in Italian and German – with some of the most hard to find – 2007 Ghiseline Berthod Chambolle-Musigny, or a 1998 Cabernet. If you find yourself at the eastern end of Topanga Canyon Road past Devonshire you might stop in. Look for the wine shop that looks like an aquarium store.

The Best Importer: It seems like half the wines in tBoW’s cellar have the Louis Dressner label on the back; a mark of unquestioned quality. backbutte2010WEBMakes it really easy to pick a bottle if you only have to remember “look for the Louis Dressner label on the back.”

The Best Los Angeles Area Restaurant with animal heads and a remarkable wine list: Saddle Peak Lodge in Cold Canyon Road. Jen Carter works with chef Chris K and an outstanding wait staff to produce a memorable evening every time we are there. What Ms. Carter has done with the domestic-only wine list is a tribute to her curiosity and enthusiasm for the grape. Worth the ride. Hard to match the total experience anywhere.

The Best Wine: Running out of “best of” gas. This is so subjective. We tasted plenty of exceptional value wines in 2013. We tasted plenty of exotic wines in 2013. We tasted plenty of unusual wines in 2013 [ed. plenty enuff already!]. So if you put it that way, the best exceptional exotic unusual value wine we tasted in 2013 has to be the La Butte Roche. We already covered this and recently. Available from Eno.

We hope everyone drinks more wines from Burgundy, Barolo, Mosel, Alta Rioja, Southern Spain and the Loire in 2014. Or try more white Rhone styles from Paso Robles and David Corey’s incredible Old World style reds from Cuyama Valley. Next time you see wine with the ‘Uvaggio label on a list buy it. If you ever see a Mackenzie-Mueller red wine from the 1990s buy it. Mostly, live a good life best you can. When is it summer again?