Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bark and Bite in the Touraine, or Clos Roche Blanche is The Schist

I was reading around my usual circuits of the blogosphere yesterday in search of a little inspiration and found it in the form of a rave from Mike Drapkin at The Schist. [Link now defunct, as is The Schist, I'm sorry to report.] The quest for what to open with dinner – grilled New York strip, a birthday treat from my wife – was complete. And while I could have opted for a special bottle of Barolo, Brunello or that old chophouse classic California Cab, what I opted for instead was Cabernet of a different ilk.

Touraine Cabernet, Clos Roche Blanche 2006. $16. 12.5% alcohol. Nomacorc. Importer: Louis/Dressner, New York, NY.
The label image above is borrowed from the 2005 vintage and Mike wrote-up the 2007. I went with the 2006, which just happened to be hanging out at home, waiting its turn in line. This is cool climate Cabernet Sauvignon, full of bark and bite. It’s a little darker and more brooding than the typically lean, light Cabernets of the Anjou yet is much brighter and snappier than the Cabernets we all know from warmer climes. More like a scrappy terrier or whip smart border collie than the muscular, sometimes plodding rottweilers and mastiffs of Bordeaux and Napa. Its nose is typical of Clos Roche Blanche in general, outdoorsy, animal and very forthcoming, pretty much brimming with fresh crushed blackberries and currants spiked with a sprig of bay laurel. The wine’s jagged texture requires food, its cool tannins standing out in stark relief to its bright, medium-bodied fruit. A match made in heaven for a rich cut of steak done black and blue, no. It worked well enough, though, that a second pour effortlessly found its way into my glass. And it’s a wine so loaded with life and character that I’d be happy to drink it on a regular basis, which seems to be a recurring theme with me when it comes to CRB.


Jim Budd said...

The 2006 should repay keeping for several more years, though I have a slight concern over the synthetic cork.

Chief Executive Researcher said...

Happy Birthday, McD!

David McDuff said...

Thanks, JDavid.


You've mirrored my thoughts exactly. When writing up my quick posting, I was thinking this could get interesting with a few years in the bottle. But I tend to look at the nomacorc -- and synth corks in general -- as the winemaker's signal to drink now.

More importantly, I share your concern as to whether these closures will hold up and maintain their seal over time and whether they might become more reactive with the wine the longer they're in the bottle.

I'd much rather see producers make the jump to screwcaps.

Mike Drapkin said...


Great write up! Each time I pull a bottle of CRB I am rarely dissapointed and almost always say to myself, "how the f%ck do they do this!!". Not that I am complaining. I mean, all that soul for under $20 is just plain inspiring!! Have a great Turkey day down in Philly. Oh ya, what are you drinking?!?

David McDuff said...

Oh ya, what are you drinking?!?

Good question, Mike. Only time will tell for sure. Of course, there are a few things likely to make an appearance: Normandy cider, Riesling, Beaujolais, maybe a little
Burg of either (or both) colors. And I imagine something from the Loire, maybe even something sticky, will work its way in there somewhere.

Full report to come after Thursday. Have a great holiday.

Do Bianchi said...

I've been pouring the Clos Roche Blanche at the restaurant where I sommelier occasionally in San Diego and it's drinking so beautifully these days... such a great value... seems to be the top TG rec this year...

David McDuff said...

Right on, Jeremy. If I'd been picking wines for a large party rather than my very small group, CRB's L'Arpent Rouge would have been on the top of my shopping list and the Gamay would have made a more than adequate backup.

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