Monday, February 14, 2011

Radish and Kiwifruit From The Loire

Philippe Foreau has 30 acres of (I'm told) beautifully groomed chenin blanc vines in Vouvray. The soil, a mix of flint and clay known as "perruches" (it means "parakeets" in French…) produces wines known for their mineral character and, in the case of Foreau, for their ability to age seemingly for ever and ever. Chris Kissack has a great profile of Foreau, along with the story of his various travails in trying to get an audience with the winemaker. Worth the click, really.

We opened a 1996 demi-sec for some friends (globe-trotting Sandy was just back from Poland, and we decided she needed sustenance). The wine showed notes of green herbs and flowers, honey, radish, peach, and flint. Yes, the radish thing sounds strange, but I've picked up the same note in Huet's wines, in context it provides an appealing bite in the midst of all that lucious honeyed fruit.

Domaine de la Pépière Cuvée La Pépiè Cot (VdP du Jardin de la France) NV: Hey, look, it's malbec from Nantes! Marc Ollivier, famous for his beautiful, ageable Muscadet (read about his white wines at Joe Dressner's site) makes this wine from young vines (less than 10 years old). The color is translucent, like many other Loire reds. The nose offers notes of fresh red berry and mint, and the palate follows with bing cherry, earthy minerals, and a refreshing note of kiwifruit (strawberry/watermelon), all with a light, glossy mouthfeel. It reminded me just a bit of the Georges Vigouroux Pigmentum Malbec Rosé, which I recall being somewhat scandalous in 2004 (I'm pretty sure Vigouroux was the first Cahors producer to use the word "Malbec" on his label, and this was the first of those wines). The goofy label illustration is by Eric Tirilly. Bertrand Celce has a lovely photo essay on Ollivier and his vineyards.

Non-wine-related news: Check out my new band. (They'll get a photo of me up eventually).