A week's worth of recovery time from your Thanksgiving dinner/food comas should be enough to reintroduce you to tasting wine again. Just in case you have any lingering leftovers in the fridge from doing multiple dinners on multiple days, it makes sense to pull something that would have fit in with our 'turkey list' (which will be up through Christmas). Cabernet Franc from the Loire generally fits a broad dinner table, and the region of Chinon tends to have the most noteworthy and high-achieving producers. A recent string of tough vintages has made it harder to find well made and fairly priced wines here, but the better producers will still persevere. Raffault is probably better recognized in this store during the Spring and Summer seasons for their remarkable Rose that is always among the fastest selling in our selection, but their reds are equal in quality.
Sourced from a single vineyard pushed right up against the banks of the Loire, Les Galuches is always the first of Raffault's reds to get bottled, as it only spends a few months in multi-use barrels before bottling. As such, it is built to be immediately enjoyed, which it promises from the moment the cork is pulled. A youthful purple color in the glass, the aromas have a brief instant of bell pepper but are quickly overtaken by dried cherry and dark red fruits, as well as Cab Franc's tell-tale flowery tones. This is one of those examples where this grape is often at its best when it isn't being built to be supersized, instead kept simple for pure enjoyment. In the mouth the fruit is definitely more to the restrained and savory side, an aspect of the cooler growing conditions in 2016, but does develop flesh and body as it remains open. More of a wine for dining than for sipping, this will go great with that last bit of dark meat and sausage stuffing, of the first batch of stew for the season.
A wine from our Thanksgiving 'Turkey Wine' list, and a terrific opportunity for people that may not have tried that much Burgundy in their tasting journey. Burgundy has always existed on a knife edge between perfect growing conditions and disaster, and 2013 was a prime example. A long cold Winter and cool Spring with lots of rain made for a slow start to the grapes developing, and spots of rain during the Summer made potential rot an issue as well. A powerful hailstorm hit parts of Burgundy in late July, cutting a narrow band of utter destruction across some vineyards while leaving others untouched. Fortunately a warm, dry, and relatively uneventful lead-up to harvest brought potential back to the vintage, but ONLY for the good producers that maintain their diligence throughout the year. This isn't a hyped vintage when the season is so easy everyone is making good wine, but plenty of good wine was made. In the hands of a top flight producer like Mongeard-Mugneret, the vintage provides lots of approachable short term enjoyment, especially fans of elegance.
Classic pale ruby color in the glass for a Burgundy, with lots of cherry skin and dried dark fruits in the background. The Mongeard-Mugneret house is based in Vosne-Romanee, the heart of the Cote de Nuits, and all the fruit for this wine comes from the Nuits, which really shows. The palate is initially light but sneaky complex, with the fine tannins providing length to the dark fruits and cedary tones to the finish. Time open brings some volume to the fruit on the palate and some intensity to the aromas, but this is always the picture of elegance, ideal for moving seamlessly between dishes or sipping and enjoyed on by itself.
Sadly, this edition of the Insider's Pick must be intended as a memorial, as we pass along the news of the sudden and untimely death of winemaker Patricia Green earlier this week. For over 30 years she has been one of the important presences in the Oregon winemaking industry, from her time at the head of Adelsheim in the early 1990s, to Torri Mor, and to the start of her own private label with longtime friend and business partner Jim Anderson. We at Wine Warehouse have had several instances to have her at our store as well as taste with them at the winery. There are very few in this industry with the passion and genuine energy for their craft that Patricia did for her wines and label. Every wine was a reflection of her, her team, and her vision. No pretense, no fluff, no grand corporate song and dance. These have always been wines that represent the land they come from first and foremost, featuring great vineyards in the many smaller AVAs across the Willamette Valley. Her presence in the wine world will be sorely missed.
This is one of the few wine from Patricia Green that is not all from a single vineyard site, yet as their flagship it still shows off their underlying style and has 'its own larger sense of place'. Always understated even in the warmer vintages, the aromas are all cool cherry skin and underlying savory herbs or lightly peppery spice. As the wine opens up the fragrance gets deeper and more exotically spiced, but never ventures over into anything heady, always remaining controlled. The palate everything you could ever want from an Oregon Pinot Noir at this price point; tart vibrant red cherry tones, super silky palate with just the finest edges of tannins poking through, finishing with bright acidity that causes the cherry skin and lively pepper tones to spread almost endlessly across the palate.
Above everything else, wine is a crop, born from the labor of farmers and subject to both the good and bad conditions that Mother Nature may dole out each year. The last few years have thrown out more than a few curveballs in many of the world's great winegrowing regions, some inconvenient and others downright cruel. Those issues will color the backdrop of many wines found in the store and featured here over the next few years. Thomas Pico is the owner/winemaker of Chablis house Domaine Pattes Loup, a young but emerging producer that has spent the previous decade developing his family's small estate into an international success. Chablis has always been vulnerable to weather issues because of its position so far North, and 2016 was the first of what turned out to be a back to back double whammy of extremely difficult vintages. Quality had been very good in 2015, but certain issues during that year caused the vines to produce fewer grapes in 2016, greatly limiting the volume. Pico sought out to find fruit elsewhere in France that he could source to make a supplemental wine using Chardonnay that still measured up to his stringent organic/biodynamic principles. He found some in the sparkling wine region of Limoux in the Languedoc, and made what was intended to be a one-time offering, but based on the widespread frost issues of 2017 in France may be necessary next year as well.
Perhaps it's the power of suggestion and having the phrase 'when life gives you lemons, make lemonade' in mind, but the aromas are all lemon zest and stone fruits. You don't get that layer of seashell and mineral tone that comes from Chablis famous Kimmeridgian limestone soils, but the cool windswept region of Limoux does provide a bright acidity that one wouldn't expect from the Languedoc. Lots of roundness on the palate from minimal filtration, and the absence of oak allow the bright character to show through as vigorously as possible. While this isn't a wine to make you forget about Chablis, it definitely shows a Chablis maker's hand was used to craft it, and will help to scratch the itches due to come up over the next few years when wines of this price and quality will be so hard to find.
The Best of the Best.
We offering free tastings on these wines in the store every Thursday and Friday, and a 10% discount off the retail price through the duration of the day. Come on by and give them a try!