This is a 100% Carignan wine from Languedoc-Roussillon. At first I noticed was the deep, dark ruby color. It shows why this grape is often times blended with more desirable varietals for color purposes. The nose filled the glass and was very enjoyable: ripe cherries, plums, blackberries, fresh soil, and a hint of spice I’d more traditionally associate with Rhone. On the palate it wasn’t as in depth as the nose but the same flavors through with little tannins getting in the way. This is not a fruit bomb but there is a pleasant amount of fruit flavor. Judging by the color I would have expected a deep and earthy wine but it was surprisingly refreshing and light. It really went well with our dinner: bacon cheeseburgers with colby jack cheese. I was pleasantly surprised with this wine, I plan on picking up a few more bottles…it was very affordable at $20 ish. They aren’t easy to find but I’m looking forward to trying more wines featuring Carignan as the main varietal.
Despite the creepy cat label this was actually a good wine. We tasted our first Bonarda at the annual Vin Bin tasting last weekend. It’s a fun, light, and fruity grape that reminded us of Barbera only less “serious” which makes sense since they grow side by side in Piedmont. I wouldn’t pair this with a heavy meal but for something light that you don’t want to overpower this could work. We’ll have to taste more Bonarda before we add it to the weeknight wine menu. I tend to prefer more mature, heavier wines during the winter but I could see this working during the summer.
colonelgrape: 91. This was bigger than expected. Spices, leather, dark fruit on the nose. Medium body with surprisingly complex structure. In fact I would recommend letting this decant for 30-60 minutes. The finish was smooth, slightly strong since we didn’t decant. This a great example of Southern Rhone wine at an affordable price. There are very few wine regions where you can enjoy this quality (Rhone, Piedmont) for $20 and under. CdR should be in every red wine drinkers arsenal…you simply cannot beat the value.
MobyGrape: 85. Smells nice and musty at first, with a strong, admittedly less pleasant boozy finish. Tasted dirty enough to keep me happy, maybe a little grassy at the end, overall a solid wine for an everyday meal. Definitely a keeper.
colonelgrape: 75. I had a tough time with this wine. When we tasted it at the vineyard I remember enjoying it however at home it just fell flat for me. It had strong notes of melon but it wasn’t vibrant and fresh enough for my taste. I usually like Chablis, White Burg, and some young unoaked California chardonnay but this one was just a little too much. It was too long and complex for my liking. It wasn’t a bad, I think it falls somewhere in-between for those who like a little oak on their chardonnay but to me it was just another chard.
MobyGrape: 84. I’ve never had a lightly buttered piece of fruit before, but I imagine if I did it would taste something like this. It wasn’t too oaky, but at the same time it did have a sort of vanilla smoothness to it that I enjoyed. It wasn’t too fruity, but it had a melony quality to it that was nice and didn’t taste like piss. Neither quality was overpowering or lingered in an uncomfortable way. I’d call it just right if you don’t want something that’s too far out on either end of the spectrum. It’s Goldie Chardonnay!
We did have an excellent meal though…pan seared scallops with pasta in a white wine, butter, and garlic sauce. There are two school of thought when using wine in cooking: Some prefer to use wine that you would drink thinking it imparts a better flavor while some say use cheap wine. It may be true you might get slightly more complex flavor using better wine I don’t think it’s worth it. I stay away from $2 buck chuck but I use what I can find for around $7-9 and it works just fine. Cook with the swill and drink the good stuff.
Moby and I took a half day Friday to take a trip down to visit Aunt, Uncle, and Cousingrape last weekend. We ate great food and drank fantastic wine making a perfect weekend. We also stopped by wine library and stocked up on Champagne and Cotes du Rhone. Here’s the wine lineup along with a few blurry pictures in here and some wonderful hand modeling by Auntgrape and Mobygrape:
2007 Domaine Bruno Clain Corton-Charlemagne
NV Albert Boxler Cremant
2010 Domaine Blain Gagnard Chassange-Montrachet
1988 Chapoutier Cote Rotie
1990 Campo Delle Piane Boca
1989 Chateau Pichon-Longueville Baron
1990 Chateau Leoville Barton
For me the wine of the night was hands down the 1989 Pichon. With the wine market the way it is Moby and I do not have the luxury of drinking mature Bordeaux regularly but thanks to Unclegrape it’s a special treat every so often. The tannis had melted away leaving structured and delicious fruit. From nose to finish you get a complete wine experience, just outstanding. I’ve developed a taste for younger Bordeaux but honestly it’s not even close…if you have the will power age your Bordeaux. Be patient, it’s worth it. Moby really enjoyed the Cremant as well. Light, refreshing, not as big as a Champagne it’s a great aperitif. We’ll definitely be having more Cremant in the future.
You may have noticed the oddball Nebbiolo in our otherwise French theme. I found this bottle at Vin Bin recently and brought it along. We enjoyed it quite a bit and will be purchasing a few more bottles. It wasn’t a fair fight vs. the 89 Pichon however a delicious mature Nebbiolo at $65 is a steal.
Plate of the Trip:
Foie Gras from Le Rendez-Vous Bistro. Wow. Perfectly cooked, creamy, melt in your mouth liver with a balsamic reduction and carmelized apple. There’s a strong possibility this was the best plate I’ve had all year.
Purchase of the Trip:
Completely unnecessary yet completely necessary at the same time. Aunt and Unclegrape have two parrots so this was the perfect purchase. Does it work? Who cares…It’s a Corkatoo and it’s hilarious.