Sunday, December 09, 2007

Some $15 Beauties from the Loire Valley

The end of the year holidays are already here, and although it is a joyous time, it can also be a stressful time. And what better to do when feeling a bit stressed out by holiday, family, work, and general end-of-the-year craziness? Why, drink wine, of course. But not every night can be a fancy wine night, so here are a couple of lovely wines that are under $15. And you should be able to find these wines rather easily too, if you're so inclined. You can open them whenever you want without feeling guilty - Monday night, Wednesday morning, whenever the mood or the stress strikes you, and why feel bad? These are truly delicious and interesting, and we're talking about less than 15 bucks here - you can't even take a friend to the movies for that price.

The first is another great winter white, the 2005 Domaine du Vieux Pressoir Saumur Blanc Elegance, ($13 Sip Fine Wines). This is a crisp and delicious wine that works great as an aperitif (read: just drink it, no food necessary) and would work well with a range of fish, chicken, or pork dishes. It is made a sec tendre, or tender dry wine, meaning that it is dry but it has a bit of residual sugar. It has a heady perfume and it feels full and round on the palate, but it is clean and fresh too. I was honestly quite surprised by the quality of this wine at this price, although I shouldn't have been because I very much enjoyed the Saumur Brut Methode Traditionelle I tasted by Vieux Pressoir recently. This is a producer whose wines I might need to explore a bit further.

Alice Feiring gave her wine of the year award to Clos Roche Blanche's L'Arpent Rouge. I like her definition of wine of the year - much more compelling than top 100 lists and things like that. L'Arpent Rouge is made from Pineau D'Aunis, an old and not much used anymore grape that a few Loire Valley producers like Clos Roche Blanche and Belliviere are reviving. Reviving might be the wrong word - they're not touting the grape, per say, or suggesting that others follow suit. They are simply making good wines using a grape that is traditional to the area, wines that will appeal to folks who already are interested in Loire Valley reds, Beaujolais,...you know, not big and powerfully extracted huge reds.

But L'Arpent Rouge is gone, as far as I can tell. So how to get your Pineau D'Aunis fix during the holiday season? I recommend the very unfortunately names You Are So Beautiful, made by Christian Chaussard and Nathalie Gaubicher of Domaine le Briseau, but via their negociant label called Nana Vins et Cie. The 2006 Nana Vins et Cie Coteaux du Loir You Are So Beautiful (about $15 wherever Dressner wines are sold) is really an excellent wine, no matter how much you might want to reject it based on its annoying name. It is a blend of Pineau D'Aunis and Malbec, but it is the Pineau D'Aunis that shines here. Light, elegant, very peppery and floral, you're gonna love the nose - it's unlike anything you're used to (unless you bought lots of L'Arpent Rouge). This is light colored and light bodied wine. It goes down so easy that it's actually kind of scary. Very good on its own, and completely flexible with food - think duck to omelets to fish to vegetable soup to whatever you want, this is as good as the best Bistro wine you can think of.

If you object to being objectified by Christian Chaussard and Nathalie Gaubicher, and refuse to drink this wine on the principal that they are complimenting your looks in exchange for purchasing and imbibing their juice, you could always go with You Are So Nice instead, a blend of Gamay and Malbec. But I prefer the Pineau D'Aunis. It's the holidays - let them tell you that you're beautiful.

3 comments:

Brooklynguy said...

Hey Brooklynguy - thanks for these excellent recommendations. Appreciate that you think of us like this. Keep up the good work,
Brooklynguy

Jocelyn said...

Hi. I just found your blog. I'd seen Chaussard's You Are So Beautiful for a bit @Prospect, but it wasn't til yesterday that Amy finally pursuaded me to try it. Had it with dinner tonight and I was quite surprised. Might have to be my new daily drinker!

Anonymous said...

Hey Brooklyn Guy!

Last week we ate at a very good Dutch restaurant called Oud-Sluis (3 Michelin stars yummie yummie :-) quelle feste) and they served Chaussard's La Gaudriole combined with the 'Parade of gooseliver'. Excellent, you should try it as a wine-lover. The combination is very unussual. Spakling white wine and a bit sweet! The best sommelier of the Netherlands serves it in the best restaurant of the Netherlands (and maybe Europe). Check our Blog www.eetclub.com

Regards Claudia