'wines of note'

Wines of Note: Marsannay, you say?

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Wines of Note: the kind of chill we like

The weekend before Christmas is not Los Angeles at it’s best. Sure, it’s 80 degrees outside and the sun is shining…but oh, the humanity. Traffic is insane and people are honking and yelling at each other through open car windows. Yeah, “Merry effing x-mas to you too,” jerk that cut us off at the light.

Stay off the roads. And out of shopping malls. And…far, far away from Whole Foods in Glendale.

We went shopping for our road trip (the car leaves at 7 a.m. tomorrow…sure) and it was a nightmare. Ostensibly, the wine we are enjoying right now (reviewed below) was to pop open after the eight plus hour drive to our cozy wigwam in Arizona. Instead, we had to pop it open immediately to take the Holidays-Are-Hell edge off. This crisp, delicious Vermentino is working its magic.

Vermentino, Maremma Toscana, La Selva 2007 ($11.99)

She says: Bright, translucent with a slight golden hue. Acid apparent immediately on the nose. Lemon and lime zest, some minerality, unripe pear, and wafts of a salty ocean breeze. In the mouth there is a zing and frizannte. Refreshing, crisp, and delightful. Citrus, wet stones, flinty. Feel so much better already. Tastes like summer. And with this weather, it practically is.

He says: Shiny golden-green. Lemon and citrus on the nose and I think for the first time I understand the term “minerality”. Very crisp and even prickly in the mouth, but light. Certainly refreshing after a long day of packing on this blisteringly hot December day. It makes me want seafood.

Facts: Finding background information on this particular bottle was a bit tough…and mostly in Italian. Here’s what the back of the bottle says:

“La Selva winery grow its grapes in the Maremma area of Tuscany, vineyards rich in an Etruscan heritage. The organically grown grapes cultivated by Karl Egger are handpicked, then gently pressed to bring this delightful wine to your glass. Ideal with fish and seafood, as well as veal and poultry. Perfect as aperitif wine. Serve chilled.”

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Wines of Note: A Marvelous Muscadet

bottle shot

I wouldn’t say that I’m the more serious wine taster; more often than not He says, “Should we take our Tasting Notebooks?” when we head out. And this is even if we’re just going to the grocery store or someplace like that–you never know when a wine tasting opportunity will pop up. I like this kind of thinking.

But…last night He was a little less serious about the tasting part. Or rather, he was less serious about the taking notes and concentrating part; there was plenty of tasting.

As He said in his post: “Sometimes you get a little tipsy and decide to go to Cha Cha, and then forget to review the wine or the shop.”

Yes, all of these things did happen (the chicks totally kicked ass at foos ball at Cha Cha, by the way) but, I still took notes on the terrific Muscadet we tasted from the equally terrific wine shop domaineLA.

Hands down this is the best wine that I’ve tasted that’s been reviewed here. Seek it out.

Muscadet, Sèvre et Maine, Domaine de la Pepiere, 2007 ($15.99)

She said: The wine is very pale with very little color, just a hint of yellow. On the nose it is fresh and clean with strong notes of grapefruit, lime, and lots of mineral. One sip fills the entire palate. The flavors again are citrusy, especially grapefruit. Also detected oyster shells, wet stones, and a chalkiness. It has a bright, almost abrasive acidity. A bit taut here, but I like that quality in a Muscadet and in whites in general. The long, floral finish reminds me of a flowering almond tree. Truly delicious and quenching. I can imagine all kinds of foods to pair it with: shellfish, of course, but also spicy stuff like bbq or Thai, and wouldn’t sushi be perfect. It’s also a great value for the price.

Facts: The winemaker, Marc Ollivier, is highly regarded by both wine drinkers and fellow wine makers. The wines come from about 40 year old vineyards which overlook the river Sèvre. Ollivier is the only grower in the Muscadet who does not have a single clonal selection in his vineyards; they are all from original stock. What also sets Ollivier and his wines apart is his insistence on hand harvesting, a rarity in the region, and using only natural yeasts. He doesn’t inoculate the wine with additives or yeasts to speed up fermentation, rather he waits for the wine to finish naturally.

Postscript: And if you still aren’t convinced that you should seek out and try wines by this wonderful maker, just look at this face. How can you not smile and resist a wine made by this man?

(Photo from Wine Anorak.)

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