Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And On the Second Day, He Rested

Tuesday nights are not for opening the best bottle of wine, but — correct me if I'm wrong here — we all hope for something not merely tasty, but something darn good, yes? I opened the following sub-$15 wines on various Tuesday nights and was happy with two of the three.

Château de la Roulerie Anjou Rouge 2008
This cabernet franc comes from the schistous soils of St-Aubin de Luigné and it's textbook unoaked 2008 Anjou — there's an edge to the acidity that jousts well with the dark, juicy, and fairly concentrated plum / blackcurrant fruit, the stemmy dried herb notes, the brown and rock-flecked earth tones. Did I say the fruit is juicy? Yes, but it's also almost entirely bereft of sweetness. Clearly, this is old world and old school. I really enjoy the way this wine shows a fair amount of heft upon entry and then lifts nicely toward the back of the palate, and I enjoyed it with a spicy butternut squash soup. See a nice profile of the domaine from The Wine Doctor.

Domaine Catherine Le Goeuil Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne 2007
The 2007 Rhônes I've had that emphasize restraint can, I think, justify much of the vintage hype. Some I've tasted show phenomenal balance and depth. This, however, is not one of them. Despite the undercurrent of minerality and the fleshy, tasty fruit, this is a bit heavy, a touch hot, and quite alcoholic, and while there is acidity, this performs as if it were acidified — it isn't quite integrated into the wine somehow.

Quattro Mani [toh-kai] Exto Gredic Vineyard 2008
Once upon a time I had a sauvignon blanc from Slovenia and I thought, "If Chablis grew sauvignon blanc, this is what it would be like." I was wrong, in the sense that there wasn't any seashell chalkiness, but there was a dry, steely, acid-forward character to the wine that I've since found in all the better Slovenian non-contact whites I've had, and which I find in this wine as well.

I'm not sure who's behind the Quattro Mani brand but the concept is to hire named vignerons to produce wines from throughout Italy and points nearby. This one's made in Slovenia by Movia winemaker Aleš Kristančič and it's damn cool and distinctive. Hell, it's even a single vineyard wine made from the friulano grape, or tocai friulano as it is also known. The nose is, vinously speaking, exotically herbal — it has leek, macerated mint, and basil aromas — and it's also a touch honeyed. Its steely structure is unmistakable, and still it's overlain by a round, almost rich, yet somehow un-fruited body. The finish is long and fairly complex, and it's a pretty mighty achievement given the price tag.


Brooklynguy said...

Mike - i think tuesday is great for good wine, and for eating out at restaurants also. i'll take tuesday over friday or saturday.

Wicker Parker said...

If I have the right company, any day is a good day for opening a great wine! And given my druthers, I'd also opt to eat at restaurants on a weeknight rather than a weekend night — alas, the urbanites' busy schedules...

Brooklynguy said...

by the way, almost certain that Ales Krstancic of Movia is behind that last wine.

Wicker Parker said...

Indeed, Aleš is listed on the back label as "winemaker."