Time to take the empty bottles to the recycling bin!
Vintus Blanc sec Gascogne 2013
Someone (I don’t remember who, if it was you, let me know) brought this bottle over when we were having a party. It didn’t get opened that night and I put it in my cellar for another occassion. Normally, these are wines that are consumed very young and usually as an aperitif. Well, this bottle stayed in my cellar 9 months longer than I wanted it to as I was abstaining from consumption during my pregnancy. I wasn’t expecting much when we popped the cork to accompany scallops with mushroom risotto.
Oh Bacchus, was I wrong! The sauvignon blanc was still highly aromatic in the grapefruit, lime range. The color was a muted, pale gold. The acidity had calmed to be pleasingly fresh. The colombard‘s maturity offered baked apple and mineral notes. There was only a hint of sulpher, which is incredible for a wine of this style, at this age. It’s obvious, to me, that this wine was cold fermented to maintain the freshness and avoid the need to use too many stabilizers. There wasn’t a back ticket, but if I had to guess, I’d say this was around 11 -11.5% alcohol. If I can figure out where to buy this wine, I would absolutely stock up on it.
Chateau Petit Gravet Ainé, Saint Emilion Grand Cru, 2007 SUPERSTAR OF THE WEEK
I recently discovered this chateau during an open house weekend in Saint Emilion. The property, as well as two other St Em properties, is owned by Madame Catherine Papon-Nouvelle. Madame Papon-Nouvelle accquired her passion for viticulture alongside her father. When she inherited the family domain, she quickly set about converting them all to organic agriculture. PGA consists of two sandy hectares where generally we have clay and limestone. For this reason, the vineyard is planted predominately to cabernet franc with a remainder of merlot where the tradition is opposite on the Right Bank.
She’s been given outstanding reviews for 2009, 2010, and 2012 and has been able to keep the prices reasonable. These vintages are known as exceptional years, but are nowhere near ready to drink. That’s why I chose to take home a 2007, which is a classic vintage and drinking well right now, and which would allow me to judge the character that is there during a typical year. I was not disappointed.
The first aromas made me think of something from the Left Bank, a testament to the higher concentration of cab franc, but then the telltale minerality of Saint Emilion mingled its way out of the glass. The palate was velvety, full-bodied and packed with flavors of the ripe cherries, raspberries, and blackberries we get from the vines on the sun drenched south side of town. There were slight floral and cacao notes and that Saint Emilion mineral that grips at your tongue and holds you captive. There was considerable sediment. Cellar potential is another 2-3 years. It definitely classed up a simple steak and sesame broccoli dinner.
I’m going to be paying much closer attention to this pioneering lady in coming years.
Domaine de la Perruche Saumur-Champigny Vielles Vignes 2014
Pizza night! Didn’t feel like thinking or cleaning the dishes, so I popped a frozen pizza in the oven and selected a bottle I found in Tours (Loire Valley). I knew that this was a sage bet because the wines of this region are are typically intended to be consumed young; they are largely “buy now, drink now” wines. That means that they’ve not been macerated very long or left in oak barrels for more than a few months (if at all). This keeps the tannin from becoming too powerful.
After the kid went down for the night, so did this 100% cabernet franc. It offered aromas of raspberry jam and violettes. The color was an intense ruby with violet reflects. The body, medium with a silky texture and a palate of fruit des bois (berries found on vines) and pencil shavings. The finish was 4 seconds. A very harmonious wine with a cellar potential of 3-5 years.