Here we are on day five, and I ain’t even slowin’ down yet! However, I did need to give my wallet a rest and draw back on a wine I drank a few weeks back and LOVED- the DePonte Cellars Melon de Bourgogne, 2013 Dundee Hills!
Just when you think you’ve heard of all the wacky whites in Oregon, here comes another one! Actually, we’ve barely grazed the surface in the white department. More to come. This wine is actually fairly well-known here, and is considered to be DePonte Cellars “flagship” white, amongst a beautiful lineup of Dundee Hills Pinot Noirs. These wines are not distributed in South Carolina, so I was unaware of their existence until I moved here. Score!
We’ve now noted that both Alsatian and Spanish varietals can flourish here, and so little Melon brings us to France, specifically to the Loire Valley. In the Loire, Melon de Bourgogne is known as Muscadet. Let it be known that a dry Muscadet is perhaps one of my faaaavorite things in the world. Its a genius little wine; there are insane values to be found, they’re perfect for hot weather and with shellfish.
However, the Nantes region of the Loire Valley where Muscadet comes from is a stone’s throw from the Ocean, so it behaves a bit differently there. Noticeably minerally, briney (mmmm) and with a bracing “fresh ocean breeze” sort of quality. The Willamette Valley is fairly close to the ocean but there is that whole mountain range thing that separates them. We still do benefit from ocean breeze and fog, but not in precisely the same way that Muscadet grapes do. Throw that together with a different soil type and you’ve got a completely different wine.
The DePonte Melon takes on a very tropical and floral persona; very outgoing and sunshiney. Energetic, with bright and resounding jasmine, white flowers and honeysuckle. Golden delicious apple, pears and pineapple are also abundant, and it finishes with really nice acidity. Just about 1000 cases were made of the 2013 vintage.
Food-wise, this wine differs from its French cousin strikingly. Whereas Muscadet and oysters are a dream, this wine could handle an oyster- but perhaps one with a hint of something fruity/citrusy, maybe with the addition of a mignonette. And a more sweet/succulent oyster, not the ultra-briney ones. The DePonte website suggests scallops- I would say absolutely to this idea, but again, a sweet/fresh preparation rather than savory. Savory would be a no-no in my taste bud premonitions. The tropical and floral-ness of this wine would clash with savory. But, I’d be hard pressed to find a better Summertime sipper than this. Fo sho. Writing this has really made me long for warm weather. Le sigh….
A handful of other producers in Oregon make/plant Melon, but I’ve yet to come across one. The Eyrie made one in 2010, it looks like. Panther Creek did at one time, but I don’t see it on their site as of now.
That wraps up day 5! This wine was purchased at the “Deck the Hills” Dundee Hills Tasting Event held at Argyle Winery for $24. I think.
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