The sample boxes from our distributors were backing up at the retail operation in which I was, until recently, gainfully employed, so we divvied up the take and went our separate ways to taste and report back. Happily, the six I took home are all from our good friends at Wines of Distinction/J&J Importers and J et R Selections, and better yet, most were new vintages of old friends from producers that we’ve enjoyed over the years. They were tasted one by one, over a period of several evenings, and here are the notes that I shared with my colleagues.
2009 Sacchetto Ca’ Berto Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, 12% alc., $8.99: Clean, medium color, with nice intensity of flavor and pure varietal character; medium bodied, with very well balanced acids and good length. This is a Pinot Grigio I could drink on a regular basis during the warmer months, and I can’t say that about that many that I’ve had. Find this wine
We’ve enjoyed the wines of Domaine du Pellehaut Côtes de Gascogne in the past; they offer great value for relatively little money, and these two follow the lead of those previous vintages.
2009 Domaine du Pellehaut Côtes de Gascogne Harmonie de Gascone Blanc, 12% alc., $8.99: Clean, medium color, with straightforward green apple and grapefruit flavors and aromas, underscored with some subtle minerality. Medium-to-medium-full bodied, with good acids and length; fairly rich and flavorful, very food friendly and a fine choice for an everyday white. Not flashy, just good, and that’s fine by me. Find this wine
2009 Domaine du Pellehaut Côtes de Gascogne Harmonie de Gascone Rouge, 12.5% alc., $8.99: It’s getting hard to find a red that only weighs in at 12.5% alcohol by volume these days, even from France, but here’s one that delivers the goods in a balanced package. Clean, dark color, with earthy black plum and blackberry shaded with a note of underbrush. Full bodied and moderately structured, with decent length, this is nice with a plate of pasta. Like all of Domaine du Pellehaut’s wines that we’ve had, this offers good QPR (Quality-Price-Ratio), and never tries to be something it’s not. Find this wine
Domaine du Vieux Chene is a southern Rhone producer; we’ve tried many of their fine efforts over the years, but this is the first of this particular bottling that we’ve run into.
2009 Domaine du Vieux Chene Grenache Vin de Pays Vauclause, 14% alc., $9.99: Deep, dark color; subtly perfumed nose of earthy, peppery plum, berry and cherry; flavors echo, moderately ripe and yet finishing totally dry. Full bodied, with good structure and length. Pleasant, straightforward dogshit French wine. Find this wine
Minervois is an under-appreciated appellation in southwestern France, and I hope it stays that way, because the prices have remained very reasonable. This next one reminds me of the delicious ’97 that we liked so much back in 2003, and of all of these, it’s the one I will most likely get more of.
2007 Chateau La Villatade Minervois, 50% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 13% alc., $11.99: Deep, dark color; pungent and earthy, with ripe (but not internationally styled) black plum and blackberry shaded with a hint of black olive. Full bodied, with very good structure and length, this is some solid Minervois, very much in keeping with the character that I like so much from this region and a great value. Find this wine
2009 Chateau La Villatade Vin de Pays d’Oc Le Vin de Sophie, 12.5% alc., $9.99: I took no specific notes on this one, just had a few glasses after work a couple of nights ago. Pleasant enough everyday red wine, but without anything to really distinguish it. Spend a few more dollars on the Minervois. Find this wine
Shortly after trying these, I had the opportunity to sample three more selections from Wines of Distinction with our Friday night tasting group, starting with the latest vintage of an old friend from Chablis.
2009 Domaine Séguinot-Bordet Chablis, $18.99: Clean medium color, with classic Chablis character; nice mineral right away on the nose, along with rich, yet totally dry fruit on the palate. Good depth and weight, with the requisite minerality and acids. This is my kind o’ Chardonnay at a very fair price, and even our “I don’t like white wine” tasters expressed their approval. Find this wine
Jean Paul Dubost is a Beaujolais producer whose wines I’ve only tasted once or twice, but these two show that he’s got the goods and knows how to use them.
2009 Jean Paul Dubost Beaujolais Village Tracot, $11.99: Quite earthy, and nicely so, with a solid core of cherry Gamay fruit; medium-medium-full bodied, with just enough structure to work with a variety of foods. Find this wine
2009 Jean Paul Dubost Brouilly Vieilles Vignes, $17.99: This medium dark colored Gamay kicks things up a notch or two from the previous selection, with nice, rich, earthy black cherry flavors and aromas shaded with some subtle smoke; decent structure, with good length and depth, offering excellent QPR (Quality-Price-Ratio). One taster commented, “Very smooth; this is nice!” I just said, “Yumm!” Find this wine
Reporting from Day-twah,