Showing posts with label Coteaux du Layon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Coteaux du Layon. Show all posts

Monday, April 28, 2008

What Would You Pour?

The other night Alice Feiring stopped by for a glass of wine. That's right, Alice Feiring! She was en route to an Olde English Ball (another story entirely), and she stepped out on the deck with BrooklynLady and me for a glass.

What do you pour for Alice Feiring?

It wasn't until after I suggested that she stop by that I realized this decision might destroy my already feeble mind. Should I pull out the best bottle of Champagne and call it a day? Maybe something not as obvious, like this Crémant du Jura that I really like. Or maybe instead open one of my daily drinking wines, like the beautiful Domaine de Cassagnoles Vin de Pays des Côtes de Gascogne. That would show her how cool I am - she comes over and I shrub my shoulders and open a $10 VdP...but it's delicious!

I waffled back and forth on this as if I were Hillary Clinton: this is what I'll do, no THAT is what I'll do, on second thought THIS is what I'll do. In the end I decided that the VdP type of pour is better for a return visit. I tried to think of something naturally made that Alice wouldn't often drink, something special and uncommon. And something that would make a good prelude for dancing. Maybe something a little sweet, in the hopes that there might be a gentleman of that same character awaiting Alice at said Olde English Ball.

I went with the 2002 Domaine des Baumaurd Coteaux du Layon Clos du Sainte Catherine, $28 on release, imported by Ex Cellars Wine Agency. Baumard is a top tier producer of dry wines from Savennières, and off-dry and sweet wines from Coteaux du Layon and Quarts de Chaume. I figured that Alice would certainly have had many a Baumard wine before, but even so, the off-dry but elegant and complex Coteaux du Layon wines are somewhat less common. And the 2002, a great year in this part of the Loire Valley, should still have plenty of ripe fruit to go along with complexity and some sweetness.

Was I really shaking as I poured the wine? I think so. But very soon the nerves went away, as it was a gorgeous evening and within 5 minutes Alice was giving BrooklynLady and me dancing lessons.

Of course I'm being a bit facetious, as hanging out with Alice was the fun part and what wine we drank was secondary, although I did spend too much time worrying about what to pour. Just to prevent this from happening again, I decided to prepare a list of what to pour in case certain people visit my home. Now, I will share some of it with you:

Barack Obama - Françoise Bedel Champagne "Entre Ciel et Terre." Naturally made, straight from the earth and expresses that very clearly, strong and floral, stands the test of time.

GW Bush - 2000 Yellow Tail Merlot. A lovely remembrance of the year he became President.

Struggling but very talented Yankees' rookie pitcher Phil Hughes - 2005 Blandine Chauchat Pic St Loup les Tonillières. Trust your stuff, you can be powerful and be elegant and honest at the same time.

Penelope Cruz - 1996 Fleury Rosé of Champagne. Enough said.

Julie Christie - 1996 Fleury Rosé of Champagne. Enough said.

Woody Allen
- 2002 Carillon Puligny Montrachet. Reds are too acidic for him.

Thom Yorke - 1986 Terrebrune Bandol Rouge. He would get it - it would make him cry.

Alice Feiring
- Not sure yet. I need to ask her how she liked the 02 Baumard CdL first.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Roundup - Recent Sips and Bites

A few wines of interest from the past few weeks that don't get their own post:


2003 Marechal Savigny Les Beaune Vieille Vignes, $ unknown (restaurant purchase). I have come to expect excellent wines from this producer, and I remember enjoying the '03s in general. If I'm not mistaken, it was this wine that won the NYTimes tasting panels' "Village Burgundy" blind tasting a little over a year ago. We were not so impressed this time, though. Maybe this wine is not that long lived, as the '03s are low in acidity. Not likely - it's only 2007. In any case, reserved aromatics, some red fruit and a bit of earth. Somewhat flabby palate reflecting the same. Not terribly complex, some baked characteristics. Pleasant, but not worth seeking out. Maybe the restaurant (Savoy) didn't store the wine properly...?

2005 Paul Pernot Beaune Clos du Dessus des Marconnets, $22. Back here I first wrote about this wine, so this is the second bottle we opened. I will admit - I was worried based on recent bottle variation issues, that this wine might not be a good as I remembered. Wrong. just as good. We enjoyed it with rack of lamb and turnip puree, and it the wine was excellent. Interesting aromatics, loaded with underbrush and dried leaves. Also some sour cherry and strawberry. Light to medium bodied texture, great acidity and balance, there is still some sappy baby fat on the palate. The fruit is ripe and lovely. It might be hard not to drink all of this young, but I am curious to see how it ages. This is honestly a steal at under $25.

2005 Desvignes Morgon Javernieres, $21. I really liked this wine the first time I tasted it. It was every bit as good this time, but it definitely needed some air time to get there. Plenty of fresh strawberries and raspberries and a little funk on the nose. Zippy and juicy palate of ripe strawberry with nice dusty tannins. An excellent Beaujolais.

2005 Jean Manciat Macon Charnay Franclieu, $17. This is a real find for me because I have basically given up on Chardonnay at this price point. I just never like it as much as I like other whites at the same price point. But this wine is an exception. Nice aromatics - ripe stone fruits, some citrus, some tropical fruit. And this is steel fermented wine - no oak! These are the aromatics of the grape as grown by this producer. The wine is lean with good acidity. There are floral and mineral flavors to go along with the citrus and stone fruit. A definite re-buy for me - this is as good as any white I know of that is currently on shelves and under $20.

2003 Bergstrom Pinot Noir Cumberland Reserve, $34. A few years ago I was a real fan of this wine. Not so sure now. It is a brawny style, rich and heavily extracted. And it clocks in at 14.5% alcohol. I wanted to like it because I have a few more bottles, but BrooklynLady and I agreed - it's just not that good. Sappy pine smells, and lots of heat from the alcohol. Unfocused palate without any defining characteristics. BrooklynLady said that she would not have known it was Pinot had I not told her. Is this Bergstrom in general or just this cuvee, I wonder. In any case, I would have to taste first before buying any further Bergstrom.

2003 Delesvaux Coteaux du Layon Selection de Grains Nobles, $30 (secondary market). For some reason I often find particularly good deals on Loire dessert wines on web auction sites like Wine Commune. Good can mean half price or better, as in this case. I don't seek out Loire whites from '03, as the heat kind of did away with the acidity, but supposedly the sweet wines survived well. Not sure I agree based on this as an example. This wine was amber in color with pronounced ripe pineapple on the nose, some caramel too, with a little whiff or roast nuts. The palate was not as complex as the nose - honeyed with some mineral notes, but too much flab. Acidity definitely lacking, and the wine wasn't balanced because of it. One interesting thing - the texture was almost aloe-like in viscosity.

2005 Eric Texier O' Pale, $15. I loved this wine at the Real Wine Attack tasting so I was curious to see how it would show at home with food. Deetrane and his family came over for brunch one sunny morning and we sat on the deck eating omelets and BrooklynLady's popovers with her homemade peach conserves (last summer's batch now gone). Why not the O Pale, at only 7% alcohol? Made from 100% Viogner grapes from Condrieu, this wine was every bit as delicious as I remembered. A nose full of orange blossoms, light and lovely stone fruits, and confectioner's sugar on the palate. Good acidity and balance for an inexpensive sweet wine. Deetrane was swooning over this stuff, by the way...

2005 Texier Cotes du Rhone Brezeme Roussanne, $20. Didn't love this one at the same tasting, but it was the only Texier wine that didn't impress me, so I decided to get a bottle and try it at home with dinner. BrooklynLady and I have been working on our roast loin of pork lately, experimenting with different herbs in the marinade. Here is our new favorite method:

Fresh oregano in the mortar and pestle with a few cloves of garlic and some kosher salt. A little olive oil (safflower is good too, and allows the oregano to shine a bit more) and then rub the paste all over the pork loin. Generous salt and ground pepper, let stand for at least a half hour. Layer a pan with potatoes (I like a mix of white and blue for color), toss in olive oil and a little salt. Place a few sprigs of oregano on top of the potatoes and then the pork. Roast at 450 degrees for 15 minutes to brown the exterior a bit, then lower the heat to 375 and roast for another 45 minutes, tossing the potatoes once during roasting, or until it has reached desired temperature. I like it at 140 degrees F when I take it out of the oven. The juices run a little pinkish, but cover loosely with tin foil for another 15 minutes and it continues to cook, but gently.

We served slices of this pork with pan juices and the potatoes, with roast asparagus - a yummy spring meal. The Roussanne was a really nice pairing. The nose was the best part for me after the initial woody blast, full of flowers and wet stones, some wax and something like poundcake too. Oily texture in the mouth, not much acidity in this wine, but still light and flavorful. Waxy and mineral palate, with some flowers and apricots too. I enjoyed this wine, but BrooklynLady liked it much more than me. I know that it is good wine, but it might not be my favorite style.