Thirty Oregon Wines in Thirty Days: day 5! Fun with DePonte.

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!

Aromatic white, say what?!

Aromatic white, say what?!

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.

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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. 

Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja- $8 and 89 points rated? wha??

Delightful.

That is the one word to describe this wine.  It’s just delightful.  I can’t think of one thing not to like about it.  But the best thing TO like about it is that it is EIGHT DOLLARS a bottle!  In the words of Michael Cramer, “are you freaking kidding me?!”  This is why Spain is the reigning King of value! 

I would liken drinking this wine to the feeling you get after purchasing something you really wanted- like a flat screen TV- and getting it for half-off.  The feeling of utmost satisfaction.  The feeling of a job well done.  Except a flat screen TV will not give you a pleasant wine buzz at the end of the day when Christmas is fast approaching and you just want to pull the covers over your head, tap your heels together and be magically transported to the month of January.  If only it were that easy. 

So, yes- I prescribe several bottles of Borsao to cure all your Holiday stress!  I want everyone to love this wine!  This 2008 vintage is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Tempranillo.  It is a vibrant, juicy, firm red… I just reminded myself of some sort of workout video… so I will therefore dub this the Jane Fonda (80’s Jane Fonda) of wine.  Fun, exciting and chipper!  Here she is, ready to entertain you and some friends with her stylish, agile movements…

Okay, so maybe the stylish part is debatable, but Jane is rockin’ those leg warmers pretty well, you must admit!  Oh wait!  Here she is again, ready to do battle with your Holiday Stress!  Mother in law coming to stay for a few days?  No match for Borsao aka Jane Fonda!  Burnt the cookies for your neighbor’s bake sale that starts in 30 minutes?  Borsao, baby!

Alright, I got a little carried away… back to the way the wine actually tastes; ripe cherries, smoke, boysenberries, black pepper, herbs, and floral notes throughout.  For those of you who enjoy Borsao’s Tres Picos Grenache (a favorite around here), this is like a little sister- softer and not as heavy on the leather.  But still packs that nice little spicy punch and acidic backbone to make it DELICIOUS! 

And, in my infinate wisdom, I have a perfect opportunity for you to experience this wine- Tuesday night, December 8th we will be pouring a value Grenache tasting flight all night, which will include the Borsao, Vinos Sin Ley’s G3, and de Fuego Grenache.  And of course, it’s Champagne Tuesday… so you can start with bubbles and then move on to Grenache!  Perfect!

Atteca Old Vines Grenache

Oh, Michael Cramer.  Do you fondly rememeber when I claimed to not like Grenache for the longest time?  And how you used to open bottle after bottle to try to change my mind?  Tres Picos was the turning point- I finally acquiesced and admitted it was pretty rockin’.  Truth it, I liked it long before then, I just thought it was funny to let you keep trying wholeheartedly to change my mind.  Interestingly enough, this Atteca Grenache is imported by the same dude who imports the Tres Picos Grenache.  He certainly knows what he’s doing, because this wine rocks!

Which brings me to the latest installment in my love of reasonably priced Grenache.  Many of the Cellar on Greene/Mr. Friendly’s regulars know about the G3 Grenache and how fantastic it is.  It’s been one of our top selling wines since we opened.  WELL, let me just say… I think the Atteca may have it beat by just a hair.  I know!  It’s a bold statement for those of you who love the G3.  But please, come down to the wine sale on Saturday, try the Atteca for yourself, and let me know what you think!  I’ll be there with bells on, pushing this stuff on you. 

atteca2

Deep purple in color, the word “exotic” definitely comes to mind when I first stick my nose in the glass.  I get a little smokiness, plums, black cherries, a little wood and pencil lead (which doesn’t SOUND particularly appetizing, but it’s one of my favorite things to taste in a wine), and a little bit of mocha and maybe cinnamon.  It would be PERFECT with some kind of grilled meat, or maybe a burger. 

Since it’s becoming somewhat of a trademark, I am trying to think of a celebrity to compare my friend Atteca to… spicy, handsome but not flashy or polished… a little wild, maybe with some “bad boy” attitude (yes, please!)… I’m thinking Benicio del Toro.  He’s pretty hot in that untamed way.  And he’s COOL.  This is a cool wine.  You will look cool drinking it.  I know I do. 

WINE SALE.  SATURDAY.  Be there or be square!  Atteca and I will be waiting for you.  We’ll be selling this somewhere in the neighborhood of $14 or $15 dollas.  It just came in, so I’m not definitive on the price yet.  We hope to see you Saturday!