Wine Diversity: Getting Sedimental For Obscure

Pyrenees map

map for getting lost in the Pyrenees

Getting lost in wine country is a great way to tour. The next best thing might be getting lost when tasting wines. In fact, this is a tBoW theme loved by fellow tasters including the Krisses, Dotoré, Largnés and the Field Mouse. Is this what happens when one spends too much time on TV shows like Ancient Aliens and Oddities [ed. muted of course]? When we had an opportunity to pull a few corks with the creator of the Mouse rating scheme naturally we turned to the odd wines in our cellars and sale bins. Each wine was unknown to one or both of us. Herkaleez! Herkaleez! Each unusual wine was a winner.

tBoW knows he has met his diversity goal when he has to update his varietals list. Each of the wines tasted and reviewed here merited inclusion among the rest of the best of wines. A couple are good values…if you have the palate for du-vin-ersity.

nostrepais10WEB2010 Michel Gassier Nostre Pais Blanc Costieres de Nimes Blanc $17: Is it a wine from the Languedoc or is it from the Rhone? The label says Rhone wine but this section of the Rhone is something like La Maremma in Tuscany. Take Virginia for example…izit East Coast or the South? The state may not even be in the Southeast. We know this much: this odd-lot white wine is 90% Grenache Blanc 5% Rousanne and 5% Viognier which are Rhone varietals. Mouse picked this out of the Wine House “plonk” bin [ed. he OWNS that bin]. Eric Solomon Selection. For a premium wine retailer plonk does not necessarily mean base-level wine that would fill a couple shelves at BevMo. The stuff that ends up in the extreme sale bins is often stuff people just do not get. Bitter almonds, Old World style, brooding and lean. Tastes like a higher end Rhone than a land-of-plonk wine. Great U20 pick. 13%

erbaluce10WEB2010 Favaro Le Chiusure Erbaluce di Caluso $20: The Erbaluce contrasted nicely with the preceding dry white wine from Rhone/Languedoc. Erbaluce is a dry acidic grape mostly grown in the unfashionable regions of Piemonte. It is mostly used to make passito dessert wines. A dry version is all kinds of unusual. This wine is fruity, acidic and grapey like non-vinifera Thompson seedless. Refreshingly obscure. 13%

1985 Cantine del Castello di Conti ‘Il Rosso delle Donne’ Boca $90: Old World at its most typical. Call it one-off Piemonte from the village of Piverone. Think Roagna or Gattiara…strictly local. Rustic, proudly unassuming, straightforward. The color is remarkable given 27 wine years which is like 200 human years. The definition of classic. Listed two grapes we NEVER heard of including Uva Rara which translates to Rare Grape but is actually Bonarda Novarese! It cannot be found so no need to show the label image. Use your imagination! 12%

clossorbe09WEB2009 David Duband Morey St Denis Close Sobré $43: A remarkable pick out of the sale bin at Wine House. Figure the price at $30+, the mystery producer and the whowhatwhere vineyard scared off even the somewhat knowledgable Burg-hounds. This wine is young and tight. Maybe it is a bit cool too. Old World style, substantial. Mouse says this is why he buys Morey St Denis. Maybe we should look more often at this appellation. He got a 30% to 50% discount. That’s nice. 13%

welly_alicante_02WEB2002 Wellington Noir de Noirs Sonoma Valley Alicante Bouschet N/A: Here is a wine that has sat quietly in the cellar with its hands folded for a decade. We were once in the Welly Welly wine club. The old old Sonoma Italian field blend vineyard was purchased by physician John and his son Peter Wellington in 1986. John took over the viticultural duties. First thing they did was to identify and tag each vine in the field. They identified 24 varietals mostly 50 to 100 years old including Zinfandel, Carignan, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache and Syrah. This wine is mostly Alicante Bouschet but also includes Lenoir, Grand Noir and Petit Bouschet. This is the classic California field blend of an Italian farmer who almost certainly made the wine he drank in his home from these grapes. He probably knew which section of his vineyard produced the style he was looking for. He sold off the rest, of course. The Wellington goal is to produce great wines at a fair price. jurancon-france_2010CROPWEB-2This wine was lovely. More classic California flavors. Easy straightforward nose. A decade in the bottle has settled all the tannins. Held up throughout the meal. Don’t see much less taste too many of these small production old vine California wines. Next time you are in Sonoma near Kenwood stop in there. I am certain we will. 14%

2010 Uroulat Jurançon $20: Another Mouse pick from 20-20 in West LA [ed. he sure do get around when in LA don’t he?]. This is Petit Manseng from the Atlantic Pyrenees near Biarritz. Pretty golden color, middle weight and full of pineapple flavors. Pretty dang tasty. Perfect end to an evening tasting some of the most unusual wines. We have to award him 3 MICE on this visit and tasting! 11% to 14%

look what I found!

look what I found!


  1. Wavatar
    Ben Strumwasser says:

    Is photo of the king (aka Mouse) in Tuscony? Looks familiar.

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