Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The Finest Value Red of the Season

I don't usually like to make pronouncements because it's just too easy to be wrong or to change my mind. But in this case, I'm going for it.

Pronouncement: I, Brooklynguy, have discovered the finest value-priced Pinot Noir of the season. Actually, it's a blend of Pinot and Gamay, so maybe instead I should say that it's the finest under $15 red wine of the season. But since we've all been looking for that elusive beautiful but inexpensive bottle of Pinot, and simply not finding it (unless $28 is value-priced, and it can be with Pinot), this counts as value-priced Pinot in my book. Not sure of the exact blend, but I'm betting it's half Pinot, approximately.

So here is the wine, before you get yourself into an uproar. It's the 2006 Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny. This is a Loire Valley wine, naturally. It costs $13.50 at Chambers Street Wines, and it's honestly just fantastic. I'll tell you more about it in a minute.

First, here is what I can tell you about Cheverny. This is one of those small appellations, obscure I guess (but this blog is not esoteric, dammit), created only 14 years ago in 1993. This is just north-east of the Touraine appellation - you can see the area in gray below. The rules for Cheverny wines are both strict and highly subjective at the same time.Wines labeled Cheverny must be blended. That's right, no matter how wonderful your Pinot or Cabernet Sauvignon might be in a given year, if you bottle wine made solely from that varietal, your wine becomes Vins de Pays, not Cheverny. But blend them together and you have Cheverny. For red wine Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and the obscure Pineau d'Aunis are allowed. White wines labeled Cheverny may contain Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Chenin Blanc, but every white Cheverny I have encountered is primarily a Sauvignon Blanc with a bit of Chard blended in.

Is there a rule about how much of a particular grape is allowed? What about the number of grapes in the blend? Can you use 99% Pinot Noir and a touch of Gamay? Who knows. But if your wine does not pass the muster of the INAO's tasting commission, no Cheverny on the label. Vin de Pays or Vin de Table. Why would a wine not make it through the tasting commission? They might not think it representative of the appellation's wines, for one. Yes - that's the subjective part.

Cheverny, like many a Loire Valley appellation, is a jackpot of delicious, naturally made, low alcohol, and inexpensive wines. Wines that show off the true character of the grapes they are made from. This red from the 2006 vintage is a great example - it's absurdly delicious and completely food friendly, and if you plop a fifty on the counter you're gonna get three bottles of the stuff, and some change back.

And Clos du Tue-Boeuf? It's made by the Puzelat brothers, Thierry and Jean-Marie. The Puzelats have been making wine in this part of the Loire Valley for about 500 years. Thierry is the cool-cat younger brother, a bit of a cult hero in Paris, and Jean-Marie is the grounded older brother. Thierry, by the way, sources grapes to make wine under his own label, including one of my favorite Loire sparkling wines every year, the Puzelat Petillant.

2006 Clos du Tue-Boeuf Cheverny, $13.50 (Chambers Street Wines).
I think Tue-Boeuf means "cow-killer," but I'm not sure. The label sports a multi-colored cow with what could be angel's wings, so go figure. This blend of Pinot Noir and Gamay has a clean nose of dark red berries and once open for about 10 minutes, vivid floral aromas - dark violet. Pure, juicy, and sweet, this is a bowl of black cherries on the palate, with pleasant earthiness and lip-smacking acidity. As the foam cork indicates, this is not a wine for aging, and it is not trying to wine the complexity award. It is pure pleasure, delicious on its own or with food, drink-me-now-and-smile share me with your neighbors wine. This is a top-top highest recommendation wine for me - check it out if your shop carries it.

13 comments:

Marcus said...

Not stocked in Quebec unfortunately. We do have a handful of Chevernys and also some Puzelat wines but definitely no red Cheverny.

So interesting (and good backgrounder there too)... I may need to make a trip back down to New York this fall for it!

Joe said...

Neat, a Bourgogne Passetoutgrains from the Loire - and they call you esoteric...

Brooklynguy said...

That's so sad that you can't get this wine at QRC or whatever your state wine store is called. Next time in the city we'll pick up a few bottles. And that's right Joe - an esoteric Passetoutgrains, but the blog itself, NOT esoteric. So there.

Kathleen said...

I love the Chambers Street wine shop, went to an amazing tasting their earlier in the year. Thanks so much for the detailed information about who made the wine and where it came from. Learning about wine is a lot of fun!
Kathleen
Albany, NY

RougeAndBlanc said...

Neil,
Long time no talk.
Thanks for the recommendation of this Gheverny. Bought one from Chambers and drank it tonight. I have never seen a bottle of wine disappeared so fast in my house.
I would go to buy more next week.
Cheers!
Andrew

Brooklynguy said...

Glad to be of service Kathleen.

Hey Andrew!!! How you been? On vacation or something? I'm happy that you liked the Cheverny. Their other wines are at Chambers too, and are supposed to be delicious. A Malbec, for example.

Joe said...

Brooklynguy pitching a Malbec? I'd like to hear some more about that wine...

Deetrane said...

We just opened one of these on Saturday and finished the second part of the bottle on Sunday. Definitely put on more weight and finesse the second day. Interesting.

Brooklynguy said...

Where did I pitch a Malbec, Joe? I like Malbec, sure, but am I missing something?

Hey Deetrane - so, did you like it as much as I do?

Joe said...

Your response to Andrew above seemed to say that Chambers had good wine, including a Malbec. I am waiting to hear about it...

Brooklynguy said...

Oh yeah - you're right Joe. You know, I keep trying Malbecs, lately from the Loire and Cahors (my favorites currently) and I like them, but I am never inspired by them. I could use a tip on a Malbec from anywhere that would be inspiring. I wonder if this other cheverny bottling by Tue-Boeuf is it. I will try and let you know.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.