A little Fun with the French!

This Tuesday morning has me feeling a bit on the French side. Why?

who’s that in the background? Penelope Garcia!

Well, really because two of my favorite wines of recent have been French.  Actually, there’s a third that I’ll throw in at the end; also French. So three altogether.  But the first two are especially crucial because I absolutely LOVE Frenchies that exhibit tremendous value!  There are still plenty of those in the world, so let’s get started with these guys…

Oooh, lookie here!  A view inside my fridge:

a stunning view! really, I didn’t pre-arrange this. This is it.

Alright, so my fridge isn’t always the prettiest sight, but right now it’s not too bad.  Sadly, that bottle of Rose is way past it’s prime, but it remains in the fridge until the next time I am inspired to edit some items out. Psssshhhtt.  Whatev.

So this wine is the Kimmeridgien Chardonnay, 2010 from Jean Marc Brocard.  It sells for $16, which is a solid deal for a fantastic white Burgundy.  I’ve actually loved this wine for several vintages past, and whenever it’s made it’s way to our retail shelves in the past few years, it’s always sold very well and has been much loved.  It’s truly a perfect expression of this soil type!  “Kimmeridgian” actually is a soil type; or rather a basin of Limestone that runs all the way through Champagne, the Loire, and Burgundy.  Now, I didn’t do so well in Geology class, and really I have only a slightly better than average knowledge of soil types. But based on the best of my understanding, this particular soil makes particularly good wine (Chardonnay, especially) because it is a Limestone-based soil that is nice n’ chalky.  Not to be a total nerd, but it’s actually pretty cool that this soil type and this wine are named for an actual Geological …. um… thing.  That’s about all I can say about that.  Except one more thing- I had a reaalllly hot Geology TA in college named Luke. Fin.

So, this wine is good.  Here’s why: it has a gorgeous golden straw color and a very distinctive Chablis nose of citrus peel, chalk, a hint of gunflint, soap, and fresh tart green apples.  Stainless steel fermentation makes it’s palate very lean and taut, with razor-like focus and searing acidity.  The finish lingers for at least a minute, and shows off a slight touch of hazelnut and a little something floral.  A truly beautiful wine that drinks effortlessly, and might make you think twice about what Chardonnay is capable of.

Next freakout of the week: St. Cosme Cotes du Rhone, 2011!

THE JAM.

Recently given 90 points by Wine Spectator, this guy is set on world-domination!  That is how FREAKING good this wine is.  And, I’m going to go ahead and call that this wine WILL definitely be on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2012.  Why??  Well, like I said, it’s freaking delicious, it got 90 Points (a requirement to be on said list) and it sells for a ridiculous $15!!  Which is stone. cold. RIDIC.

It seems this wine is mostly Syrah, but despite a bit of hunting, I can’t be sure.  To me it doesn’t really matter.  Some past vintages of this bottling have been 100% Syrah, and some have had Grenache.  This wine literally explodes!  An extremely vibrant nose of violets, raw meat (if you’ve never smelled that, it actually smells delicious rather than gross), blackberries, licorice, sandalwood, plums, anise, black pepper… I could really keep going, but hopefully you get the gist.  The palate is quenchy, silky, perfectly balanced and juicy.  This is the absolute epitome of an everyday red wine, in my book.  I know I could drink it every day.  Actually, I think I have had it every day since last Wednesday.

The other cool thing is that Chateau de St. Cosme is currently getting an absolute slew of amazing ratings (think high 90’s), and it’s totally awesome that they have an entry-level red that is this great of a price.  I’d still love this wine even if it didn’t have high-rollin’ big sisters, but it’s still a good selling point.

Alright, one more cool French wine that coincidentally started to blow up in my twitter feed right after we got it in- Shatter Grenache, 2010 Maury, France.  Made by rock star winemakers Joel Gott and Dave Phinney, this wine is a cacophony of wild n’ crazy fruits, spices, and oakyness.  I’d go into much more detail, but my wine-blogging doppelganger The Reverse Wine Snob has written an awesome post on it here, which I can’t really improve on.  We’re currently retailing it for $29, and if you like the sounds of it, come grab one!  That’s all for today.

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Orin Swift “Locations E-1”, 2011 Spain

Okay, kiddos.  This post comes to you today from a sunny, beautiful Columbia, SC- AKA the Center of the College Football Universe.

Most of you that live in Columbia will probably not even read this until tomorrow, at the soonest.  Because your life has, of course, been put on pause until the conclusion of the USC-UGA game this evening.  I get it.  But I am for want of things to do this afternoon, as I am not one of those individuals who gets Football Fever.  I occasionally like install shock and fear in folks around here by telling them there is no such thing as College football in New England.  Horrifying, yes; but 100% true.  It’s like telling them there’s no Santa Claus.  In any case, I do have a vested interest in seeing the Cocks win tonight.  Mostly because I hate hearing my coworkers whine and pout if they lose.  That and I find most Georgia fans I’ve encountered to be a bit abrasive. (sorry, Lane. not you.).  But Bulldogs are cute.  That’s all I got.

So let us move on to a topic that can unite even  one of?? the biggest rivalries in the SEC- WINE! (we are in the SEC, right? I don’t really know.  I just remember someone saying “welcome to the SEC, Missouri.” or maybe it was Kentucky. Like I said, I don’t care about this stuff).  I’ll stick to what I like, which is WINE!!  Especially brand-new wine from Orin Swift winemaker Dave Phinney!

a study in simplicity, this package is.

Direct and to the point, the large capital letter E announces this wine’s company.  Functional, non-glamorous, yet appealing to the eye; I like it.  It reminds me of those bumperstickers that people put on their cars with the insider abbreviations for particular vacation spots.  For some reason, I like this bottle, yet I hate those stickers.  Like, if YOU were cool enough, YOU’D know what OBX stood for, and you’d go there!  But we won’t dwell on that.

Locations is a blend of three grapes from three of the most prominent growing regions in Spain; Grenache from Priorat, Tempranillo from Rioja, and Carignan from Ribera del Duero.  Despite some Googling, I can’t seem to find a breakdown of percentages.  I doubt it’s an even three way split, but stranger things have happened.  Now, I am a total slut for Spanish wine.  If I had to choose one country’s wine to drink for the rest of my life, it’d be Spain.  I would shed a tear for Rose from Southern France, but I’d get over it.  So maybe I’m predisposed to liking this wine, in which case I’m biased.  But I also have good taste, so you’ll have to take a gamble if you believe me when I tell you this wine is DELICIOUS.  It’s one of those wines I like to call “a drinker.”

specs.

Yes, all wines are drinkers, technically.  But the ones I call official “drinkers” have to have a specific characteristic- they have to leave your mouth feeling lighter OR as light as it was when you started drinking it.  In other words, it can’t weigh you down.  It can’t coat your mouth.  All you should feel after you sip it is a pleasant little tingle, AKA a lightening sensation.  Often it can make you want to smack your tongue against the roof of your mouth.  We could also call this the correct amount of acid, if we wanted to be technical.

But let’s get back to how it tastes, before I get too wordy.  I’ve actually consumed about a glass of this while writing.  So I’m an expert.  A very ripe and luscious nose of blackberry, black cherry, plums, blackberry liqueur, a hint of fresh sage and maybe juniper arrive in your olfactory glands ceremoniously.  The palate, as I said before, is zesty and bright with nice acid and a good balance of fruit.  Savory, robust and lip smackin’.  Structured, with a nice weight and again- very drinkable.  As is evidenced by me crushing a glass while sitting around at 2 in the afternoon.

In closing, I would say this; remember that this is a Spanish wine in addition to it being an Orin Swift wine.  For me, it is a nice venture into Spain from winemaker Dave Phinney- it IS an Orin Swift wine, because I (as should you) would have 100% confidence in buying it untasted, as I would know I’d be getting high quality wine, with precise, experienced and focused winemaking.  But these be Spanish grapes, not ‘Merican.  So if you buy it thinking it’s going to taste like The Prisoner, it won’t.  But you SHOULD buy it because it’s GOOD and because you love wine.  Also?  It’s only $22!  That’s a major win for this wine, and I’m really glad to see such a friendly price-tag on it.  A touch over your everyday price, but not so much that you’ll want to hoard it and feel bad for opening it.

Now here’s the kicker- this wine is in somewhat limited supply.  So I’d suggest stopping in and grabbing a bottle sooner rather than later.  Or, if you’re a transplant like me, come in tonight and have a glass- because in all likelihood, it will only be on by-the-glass until Tuesday of next week, the 9th.

get you some!

***Also!!  A special announcement for SPANISH WINE-LOVERS, if you’ve made it this far, about a way-awesome tasting we have Wednesday, October 10th from 5-7!!  Four brand-new Spanish reds from Well-Oiled Wine Company!  I was literally blown to pieces over these wines, and the PRICES are stunning.  None of them retail for more than $15.  And they’re all kick-ass.  Absolutely fantastic.  We’ll be trying the Pieza “El Coll” Garnacha, Gran Familia Rioja, Anciano 5 Year Tempranillo, and LAN Crianza Rioja.  I’m trying to talk Ricky into making some Spanish-style food to go along with them, too!  Put it on that calendar!

And okay, fine- after a glass of wine, I can say it- GO COCKS!!!