Friday, July 13, 2007

Another $10 Wine, This Time French

I didn't love my recent foray into inexpensive Spanish white wine, but thanks to a few helpful comments, I have some new Albarinos to sample some day. Got me to thinkin' though, it's great to have a couple of go-to white wines in the summer, wines that are refreshing and flavorful, and low enough in alcohol to be easy with food, or to enjoy on their own.

There are not many wines I know of at the $10 price point that meet all of those criteria, but here is a great one. It's from Gascony in the south west of France, the region of Madiran and Jurancon. This wine is a Vins de Pays (Country Wine) des Cotes de Gascogne. Like a Cotes de Nuits in Burgundy is made with Pinot grapes from a range of areas within the Cotes de Nuits (possibly including grapes from famous villages such as Chambolle-Musigny), a VDP des Cotes de Gascogne is a wine made from grapes from all over of Gascony.

Domaine des Cassagnoles VDP des Cotes de Gascogne, $10 (Prospect Wine Shop).
Amy, the always helpful and deeply knowledgeable manager of Prospect Wine Shop in Park Slope recommended this wine. A blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc (now that's an obscure pair, eh?) that is typical in the Cotes de Gascogne, this wine was perfectly lovely when we opened it. There was a distinctly passion fruit aroma and a nice dry citrus and mineral palate. For $10, I was quite impressed - the wine seemed honest, relying only on yummy grapes. How could I know the treat we were in for the next day?

The next evening we had the remaining half bottle while preparing dinner and the wine was completely delicious. It gained weight and complexity overnight. Isn't that strange for a humble country wine from some where in Armagnac-land? Does this mean that I have to open my $10 white summer sipper the night before I want to drink it? That would be annoying. Maybe we will simply drink the wine over two nights instead, although that won't be easy to do - it's really good and at 12% alcohol you can have a glass while cooking, another with dinner, and the last sip while doing the dishes.

Anyway...The next night the aromas still displayed plenty of passion fruit but balanced by something floral and citrus oil, like twisting a lemon peel. Pure flavors of wet rocks, citrus, and a bit of wax. Medium bodied with a nice texture. Bone dry, lip smacking, and yummy sipping, this would be great with seafood sure, but could definitely stand up to roast chicken or even lean pork loin. This is a serious wine for $10 and I for one, will be getting more. I feel like Joe up in Montreal drinks a lot of wine from Southwestern France - maybe he has tried this little beauty?

22 comments:

winedeb said...

I totally agree with you on this little gem. I tried it back in June and had it on one of my posts. I enjoy French white wines but the good INEXPENSIVE ones are hard to find. I also have been on the Spanish wine kick and posted my last bottle tasted today. I need something new - Maybe Argentina????

Joe said...

you don't often get that 'better the next day' from a white, but from that region I am not surprised.
And don't forget the glass before cooking dinner, and that other glass after the dishes are done, and the glass you take to bed...
Thanks for flagging me as an expert of the Southwest, but I have mostly had Cahors and Madiran reds (MMM, spectacular...perhaps when you come up to Montreal, you Marcus and I can break open a Montus or Bouscasse Vielles Vignes).
On the white side, I tried a Jurancon in France and I have had the white Madiran (Montus), so I am just starting to look at the regions whites. I looked for this one on the local wine shop list - not available...sigh

Joe said...

And by the way, now I have to write up a review of the southwest...

deetrane said...

Joe - I have a Montus Madiran 2001 that I bought on the recommendation of Jason Hyde at Acker, Merrall & Condit (http://ackerwine.com/), who told me to cellar it. But this was a few years back. Should I open it?

Joe said...

Hi Deetrane! I love the Montus, and I have blogged it several times. If it is the regular Montus, you could drink it now after a good (1+ hour) decant, or wait a few more years - it may soften up, but it is drinking well now. If it is the Cuvee Prestige, you should wait five years at least. It is very tannic - I suggest steaks or game to pair with it. Let me know, cheers!

Steve L. said...

Speaking of Cotes de Gascogne (and since no one else does that's why I like your blog)...at the end of last year I was blind served a glass of Domaine de Pellehaut white and did a triple take. Man, I said to myself, I'd like more of this, figuring it'd cost about $20 a bottle. Well, it was more like $7 so I bought some, I told my family to buy some, etc. The 2005 is all gone I'm sure but the 2006 is starting to appear. I haven't tasted it yet. If wines imported by Charles Neal are available on the East Coast, this is worth looking for because that 2005 was a superb quaffer--fresh, engaging, intriguing, and even a bit complex.

Brooklynguy said...

Hi Deb - yes, it is tough to find reliable inexpensive French whites, but I feel like I've found a few great ones in the past few years. Mostly from the Loire Valley. My problem is that once I find the wine I like, I always wait too long before realizing that I should buy a half case and drink the wine, instead of thinking about drinking the wine. Thanks for stopping by.

Joe - if you do that southwest France review I will be one of your ardent readers.

Hi Steve - thanks for the Domaine de Pellehaut rec. I will definitely look for the 2006. And I never heard of Charles Neal, but I will keep my eyes peeled for his wines too. I'm glad you like it around here (although Joe above definitely writes more than I do about southwest France, and so does Doktor Weingolb, aka Marcus). Thanks again for the recommendation and see you around.

Marcus said...

Hey guys,

I have to concur about Joe our SW France man -- I think he's even mentioned the Domaine de Pellehaut in passing.

The reason I am fond of the southwest of France is one word: Négrette. Montauriol is my favourite producer because of its Négrette-heavy blends. Is it a grape thought to be Sangiovese.

But since you're onto SW Colombard, here's a bold one to look out for: Pierre Delatour - similar to what you had but on the even-less-consequential side. Fruity refreshment straight up, but then I'm not sure I waited to see what happened the next night...

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Dok - never heard of Negrette. This is a red grape, I assume? And if I find Delatour I will certainly try it. Thanks for the rec.

Joe said...

BKG - I thought you were already one of my ardent readers! "But what have you done for me lately?", he says. Sigh.
I had the Pellehaut in France. I have never tried the Negrette, but it will be part of my southwest piece.

Brooklynguy said...

Wait - I'm confused. the wine you mentione here is not called Pellehaut and it cost you 28 euro. The Pellehaut I know costs under $10 US. I know I am confused, so enlighten me!

Joe said...

Oops - you caught me - that was the Bellegarde I had in France - I had the Pellehaut on anAir Canada flight. Much less impressive at 30,000ft, and fits with your price description...

Sheila said...

One of my favorites is the Seigneurs de Bergerac for around $8.99. Quite
good even the next day. I have quite a few empty half bottles so I just pour the rest in and refrige. My friend Ric from VC recommends the Rose by them so I am looking forward to trying it.

Brooklynguy said...

hi Sheila - thanks for stopping by. I will look for the Seigneurs de Bergerac - I have really been enjoying the southwest wines lately. Thanks for the recommendation. What is VC, by the way?

Sheila said...

VC stands for Village Corner in Ann Arbor, MI they have around five thousand wines. They are considered
one of the best Wine Stores in the Midwest.

Brooklynguy said...

hey Sheila - you know I am a U of M alum and I didn't catch the reference. I remember VC having wine back then, but 5,000 bottles? I don't know. Don't they also sell regular groceries? Or am I thining of something else? Are you a professor (because who else lives in A-squared)? How did you find this blog?

Sheila said...

Yes VC has 5,000 bottles. Yes they
do sell groceries. I found this blog
through Kitchen Chick's blog. I know
Kitchen Chick. A lot of people live
in A square. Would not live anywhere
else. I started tasting with the people at VC in the seventies. No I did not know you were a U of M alum.

Brooklynguy said...

I wasn't dissing AA - I loved it too. Came back for a wedding a year ago and it was different, but still the same in a nice way. Is VC the one on east U - trying to place the location. Glad you found me, and hope to see you around, maybe even on some more recent posts...please tell Madame Kitchen that I say a warm hello.

Sheila said...

I am happy I found your wine blog
and you will see me around. VC is
on the corner of east U and S Forest does not look like much of many thing. When you go in there the help are college students definitely not the preppy type. You have to know they have Wine because it is the back. Ric,Rod and Jorge look like old Hippies. Dick the owner is not there only occasionally. They have so many wines that for a good value I have ask their opinion.

jackie said...

I, too, had this exact wine this weekend (one of our distribution reps brought it by to try) and I was really impressed for the price. How much fun for how little dough!

Brooklynguy said...

hi jackie-couldn't agree any more with you. fantastic at the price. i bet in a blind tasting people would think it a $20 wine at least. my local is now out of it, sadly, so i have to hope they get more in. in what capacity do you work in the wine business?

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