Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cassagnoles Cuvée Gros Manseng Reserve

Early on this past summer I found a great wine from the Côte de Gascogne in the southwest of France. The fact that is cost $9 a bottle before case discount was gravy, because if you tasted this wine blind along with other summery whites and a plate of seafood, this one would do well in your scoring - no doubt.

This area of the southwest gets more props for Armagnac, the wonderful grape-based liquor (that offers a better value than you'll find in Cognac) than it does for wine. That's fine with me, as it means that the bracing and delicious white wines usually cost very little. The wine I came to love over the summer is made from grape varieties that are also used to make Armagnac - Gros Manseng, Ugni Blanc, and Colombard. They are also the names of famous spies from the resistance. That last statement is not true. But it should be.

Recently I saw another bottle by Cassagnoles, this one a reserve wine called Cuvée Gros Manseng. Hmmm, am I ready to take the single varietal step in the Côte de Gascogne? What happened to Colombard and to Ugni Blanc? Were they detained, captured, or worse?

2006 Domaine de Cassagnoles Vin de Pays des Côte de Gascogne Reserve Cuvée Gros Manseng, (about $12, should be easy to find). I am happy to report that Gros Manseng is carrying on quite well on its own in this case. The wine is entirely different from the other bottle. This is not the same racy citrusy seaside slacker. This is a medium bodied wine that is all flowers on the nose, some lemon oil too. Clean and fresh tasting, it's refreshing and delicious, and it would be great with heartier fish dishes, but also with things like roast chicken, vegetable stews, or even a simply prepared pork chop. This could easily be one of your three or four house whites for the next few months.

Southwest, huh? As the Euro begins to trade at over $1.50 for the next period of time, it's nice to know that there is a region of France making great wines at daily drinking prices.


Anonymous said...

Oh, oh, oh, this wine sounds like just my type! Thanks for the sweet pick - I will look for this one for sure... hopefully before the flabby dollar messes with SW French wine prices.

Eddie Howard said...

Nice report. I've been searching for an under $10 easy to find white that I can use as a house wine, so I'll have to seek this one out.

Brooklynguy said...

hey scamps - the other cassagnole is great too, try either of them if you can. but you know, from what i hear, there's lots of good wine from the southwest at this price. thanks for stopping by

hey eddie - you're in nyc right? you shouldn't have a problem finding this. i saw it at another brooklyn store today on the browse. i bet astor or one of the big downtown shops carries it.

Eddie Howard said...

Yup, I am in NYC. I'll search for it this weekend. Thanks!

Sean said...

Don't forget to try the wines of the Jurancon--they are typically a blend of Gros & Petit Manseng, with some of those other private eye-type grapes tossed in for good measure, such as Petit Courbu. Jurancon Sec will rarely set you back more than $15/bottle & offers great structure & mouthfeel for the price, not to mention those lip-smacking flavors & great acidity (read: awesome food wines). Moreover, Jurancon, as it's typically called, is a fabulous dessert wine & a great value. Hard to find these days...I know that Astor Wines typically carries several Jurancon Secs, as does Chambers St. Wines.

Happy hunting!

David McDuff said...

Hey Neil,
Weygandt-Metzler, who brings in the Cassagnoles wines, is an importer that should be added to your "shop by the back label" list. Very solid stuff throughout their portfolio.

Brooklynguy said...

Good luck Eddie.

Sean - Jurancon is on my explore list already. So many wines, so little time and money. Thanks for the rec.

Hey David - I agree with you about Weygandt-Metzler. Consistently good stuff. I shop by back labels too. Rosenthal is probably my most trusted in still wine.

Marcus said...

Duly noted.

As were the Geoffroy, Briords and Tue-Boeuf!

Thanks for your able instruction!

Brooklynguy said...

hey Dok - it was marc hebrart's shamps we tasted, not the geoffroy. gld you dug it. the wife is in on sat for the tasting, by the way.