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Romancing With Romorantin!

Romancing with Romorantin!

Have you heard of the Romorantin grape? It’s a white grape that has been grown in the Loire Valley since the 16th century. It makes a crisp wine that has great minerality and acidity. DNA profiling has determined it to be the offspring of Pinot Meunier (of Champagne fame) and Gouais Blanc (an ancient white grape rarely grown today).

The Cour-Cheverny appellation is situated within the larger Cheverny appellation, which is the most important zone in the middle Loire.  It was promoted to full Appellation Controlee status in 1993.  The wines made from Romorantin make up its own appellation (Cour-Cheverny) which is only about 48 hectare.

I’ve had wine from the Romorantin grape a few times now. Back in June of 2012, I wrote a blog about the 2007 Domaine des Huards Cour-Cheverny. At the end of that blog entry, I told you that if you had any in your cellar you should drink it up. I was wrong!!!!

A gal that works for Domaine des Huards sent me an email back in June of ’12, telling me that in fact Romorantin can be aged for 10, 15 and even 20 years without a problem and that it, in fact, gets better with age. I had one more bottle, so I held on to it. Boy, I’m glad I did. I opened it a few nights ago with my husband, and it is drinking beautifully!

In my initial blog, my tasting notes were pear, mango citrus, and almond on the nose, with some green apple and a bit of mushroom on the palate.

Fast-forward five and a half years, I now get melon rind, fresh spring pea, almond, and saline, which tells me that this wine would be a killer pairing with seafood as well as many types of cheese, salads, pasta with cream sauce, vegetarian dishes, and much more. The color is a gorgeous deep golden!

I like this wine more now than I did five years ago, and I liked it then too! So what do I wish? I wish I had a few more bottles of this wine in my cellar so that I could try it again in another five years!

If you’d like to learn more about Domaine des Huards you can check them out here: http://www.domainedeshuards.com/en

Pairing France with … France!

Tonight’s dinner was a Provençal Zucchini and Potato Gratin Casserole. I wanted to pair it with a French wine (OF COURSE!), and was looking for something from Provence. When I went into our cellar, the ’08 Domaine du Cayron from Gigondas caught my eye! Okay, it’s not from Provence, but it IS from the Southern Rhone, which is pretty darn close geographically speaking. And it was a great match!Gigondas-France

A few years ago I was fortunate to visit Gigondas, a charming village located near Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Southern Rhone!  It is also an appellation that produces some fabulous wines, both red and rosé, with its vineyards sitting below the dramatic rock formation called the Dentelles de Montmirail.

For many decades all of the wines of Gigondas were simply Côtes-du-Rhône, but in 1966 they were elevated to Côtes-du-Rhône-Villages.  In 1971 Gigondas was deservingly awarded its own appellation.

By law, the red wines of Gigondas can be made of no more than eighty percent Grenache, and no less than fifteen percent Syrah and/or Mourvèdre.  The remaining blending varietal is usually Cinsault, but may be any other red Rhone varietal except Carignan. Confused yet??? One of the top producers of Gigondas is Domaine de Cayron, and I’m happy to tell you that their wines are distributed here in the U.S. Cayron-w-Glass gigondas-street

Now the 2008 vintage in Gigondas is not known to be stellar. The summer months were cool and had lots of rain, but I find this ’08 Domaine du Cayron to be fabulous. It has lovely plum, cherry and loads of licorice. There’s also a bit of garrigue, which pairs wonderfully with the Herbes de Provence I used in the casserole.

I have a 2010 (considered a great vintage) waiting for me next to the empty slot where this ’08 sat. I’m sure looking forward to pairing that with something special too!

 

Wonderful Whites from Alsace!

Alsace is a region of France that I have yet to visit, much to my chagrin, but whose wines I absolutely adore!

I recently found a bottle of the Trimbach ’08 Gewurztraminer at Wine Watch, a great wine store in Fort Lauderdale (another blog for another day!) and grabbed it. Tonight I popped it open!

Maison Trimbach has been around a long time, since 1626 to be exact. Twelve generations have continued their viticulture history, with the family vineyard being led today by Hubert Trimbach, his nephews Jean and Pierre, and his daughter Anne. The family produces wines from all of the classic Alsace varietals, but today I’m going to tell you about this ’08 Gewurztraminer.

Alsace is a prime spot for this aromatic and lively grape. Gewurtz (as it is often called for short) thrives in this region of France, and many “pros” consider this to be the prime spot to grow this aromatic and lively grape. 

The ’08 Trimbach has a golden color with sexy aromas of peach, lychee, pear and honeysuckle. The palate has honey, ripe  (almost jammy) pear, peach and is dry with a peppery spiciness on the finish. This wine definitely benefited from being cellared for a few years and is ready to drink now.

I recently poured Trimbach’s ’13 Pinot Blanc for a corporate event, and it was the “surprise wine” of the night. People couldn’t believe how much they loved it.

Trimbach is best knows for their fabulous bottlings of Riesling, but they do a wonderful job with all of the Alsatian varietals.

Yes, there is definitely a trip to Alsace in my not too distant future. Until then, I’ll keep lots of wines from the region in my cellar, with Trimbach being at the top of my list.

Lively White from the French Alps!

Spring is almost here and the warm weather is approaching. In fact, here in Florida we are already feeling the upper 80s temperatures one hopes to not experience until Summer. The best cure for that is to start opening some lively whites! So today I cracked open a 2011 Domaine Eugene Carrel Vin de Savoie-Jongieux.

This wine is made from 100% Jacquère, which is a grape that makes up fifty percent of the vineyards in the region of Savoie in France. The wine is somewhat rare, for mountainous Savoie is better known for the tourists who spend most of their time on the slopes of the French Alps, not for their wine. What a shame that is! Although wines made from the Jacquère grape in this region are finding themselves on the shelves of wine stores in the U.S. a lot more often than even just a few years ago, they are still uncommon.

This particular bottling is named for the village of its provenance, Jongieux. The wine is aged sur-lie (or on its lees) until it is bottled, which gives it a fun effervescence! The color is light straw with a touch of a green hue. On the nose are citrus and white flowers. The palate provides light and crisp lemon, lime, green apple, pear and just a touch of spice. The finish is lean and has a bright minerality, but the fruit persists. The Domaine Eugene Carrel Vin de Savoie-Jongieux would pair beautifully with many foods, but I keep dreaming of having it with a local Savoie specialty, fondue with big chunks of hearty bread for dipping.

If you’re a fan of Sauvignon Blanc, give Jacquère a try!  You won’t be disappointed!

 

2011 Pascal Janvier Jasnières

This past weekend I cracked open a fun wine from the Jasnières region of France.  Jasnières, a small AOC in the Loire Valley of France, makes white wines exclusively using the Chenin Blanc grape, also known locally as Pineau de la Loire.  Located due north from Vouvray, Jasnières covers 65 hectares (about 160 acres) and is made up of calcareous-clay hillsides.

Chenin Blanc is a very versatile grape, producing fine wines in various styles and sweetness levels.  The wines of Jasnières, however, are often made dry and are known to age very well.

The 2011 Pascal Janvier Jasnières has sweet red apple and a touch of kirsch on the nose.  On the palate are the apple, white peach, sugared grapefruit and under ripe pineapple.  On the finish I detect a touch of residual sugar, but with the mouth watering acidity of this wine it is dry on the palate.  While smelling and tasting, I kept going back to my childhood with a memory of Sweet Tarts!  This wine is Sweet Tarts in a glass!

Pascal Janvier is obviously doing some great things in Jasnières.  This tasty, complex wine is still a baby and will only get better with time.  I wish that I had a case in my cellar that I could “watch” evolve over the next five or six years!

If you find yourself drinking mostly Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for your whites and you need a change, give the Chenin Blanc wines of the Loire a try.  If you can find a bottling from Pascal Janvier in Jasnières, grab it and see what you think.  I have a feeling that you won’t be disappointed!

 

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