Our new flight brings to light some of the amazing wines from one of France's most beautiful and notorious wine regions. Julius Ceasar and the Romans brought vines to the area in around 50BC and towns like Tours and Orleans were the homes of royalty long before Paris. Even when the capital was moved to Paris, the climate, cuisine and wines saw the French royalty often spending the entire summer traveling leisurely on the Loire.
While not familiar to many Americans, us wine geeks salivate profusely at names like Sancerre, Pouilly Fume, Chinon, Muscadet, Quincy and Vouvray. The region is known for elegantly bracing acidity and soft fruit from grapes like Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc although many other grapes are grown in this fertile valley.
From way up river where Sav Blanc reigns supreme comes our Pouilly Fume, just across the river from Sancerre. The "fume" name may refer to the gray bloom the grapes show at maturity but more likely from the characteristic flint or gun smoke notes from the limestone soils. This flinty character is very subtle in the 2011 Regis Minet and only shows through the slightly candied lemon and bright apple acidity as the wine warms. A wine that will cut through a rich cream sauce but not overpower milder flavored proteins, this is clean and elegant Sauvignon Blanc worlds away from the current styles coming from New Zealand.
Well you guys drank up all the Burgundy so we need a new flight! We've got a very different flight for you now featuring big bold Spanish reds and a lovely white from Valdeorras in Northwest Spain.
The white is a Godello from the producer of the original Godello clone. The vines are all over fifty years old and with some aging on the lees this is a rich, round white with still vibrant acidity. Melon and meyer lemon curd flavors matched with a creamy texture - yum!
Of the three reds, the oldest is a Navarro Lopez 2004 old vine Tempranillo that saw a full 24 months in oak before bottling. Great drinkability on its own with intense black fruit with soft cedar notes has made this the staff favorite. A Crianza with all the required time in oak from Ribera Del Duero also is included. This 2007 Valdehermoso is Tempranillo as well but with a bit more structure than the Navarro Lopez. This wine's tannins enjoy a lttle food or a few minutes to soften but then it truly shines.
The last red is a Monastrell from Spain's hot midsection - Alicante. The 2010 Tarima Hill is juicy and inky black with amazing rich blueberry flavors. If you like California Zinfandel, this is the wine for you!
"God made Cabernet, whereas the Devil made Pinot Noir" - Andre Tchelistcheff
New to Wine & Cheese is our Pinot Noir tasting flight. Here for a limited time you may sample a flight from three of the world's best places for Pinot Noir.
The 2009 Black Diamond Pinot Noir is from the Russian River Valley and is 100% Pinot. Whereas many CA Pinots throw in Syrah or Malbec to up the alcohol and turn it into a jammy cab like substance, the Black Diamond is unashamedly Burgundian in style but showcasing the soft ripeness that CA can bring to the picture. The fruit is vibrant and clean, letting this wine sing with any of our soft cheeses. Try it at home with a barely done pork loin to see how food friendly this guy is.
And speaking of Burgundy, (and not Almaden Mountain Burgundy) we have a 2008 Premier Cru Mercurey from the Les Saumonts vineyard. Warmer than average summers have softened many of this region's wines and this one is no exception. Very drinkable today with rich fruit and impressive body, we are excited to be pouring this by the glass or flight for a limited time.
And last but not least is a Pinot from the Willamette Valley in Oregon. The 2010 Evesham Wood Pinot from their Illahe Vineyard is classic Oregon Pinot showing mushroom and soft forest floor aromas behind its impressive fruit balance.
This flight is a bit of a change for us as these wines are similar in weight and style, making the differences more subtle but still obvious when tasting side by side. Pinot Noir is a challenging grape to grow with its thin skins but when done right becomes probably the best food wine on the planet with its acidity and soft flavors. Come on out and try some with us!
This is definitely "to-go" season at Wine & Cheese! Our platters are making it to far more Christmas parties than any of us. We make them up on very nice re-usable catering trays so you just unwrap them and they are good to go. A couple bottles of bubbly from the Wine Cellar next door and no one will notice that tacky sweater from Aunt Beatrice.
Wine & Cheese and the Wine Cellar will be open on Christmas Eve till 2pm. We will be closed Christmas Day and OPEN on New Year's Day. Regular hours will be observed on New Year's Eve. We hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday season!