Monday, February 9, 2009

French, Italian and Cajun

Another fairly impromptu get-together provided all the inspiration necessary for today’s post. Carryout from Cajun Kate’s, a few interesting things to taste and a little conversation with friends…. Definitely not a bad way to spend an evening.

Touraine Sauvignon “Le Petiot,” Domaine Ricard (Vincent Ricard) 2007
$15. 12.5% alcohol. Composite cork. Importer: Petit Pois, Moorestown, NJ.
After reading about the 2008 version of “Le Petiot” at Jim’s Loire a little while back, I figured it was high time to sit down with a bottle of the 2007, which is the current release on American shores. There’s no mistaking this for anything other than a vibrantly pure expression of Sauvignon, from its first aromatic blast of pink grapefruit and spring flowers right down to the tongue twisting, cleansing acidity on the wine’s finish. In between, there’s fine interplay between ripe, peachy fruit, lively citrus overtones and a wee undercurrent of light minerality. A perfect kick-starter of an aperitif, and not too shabby with Cajun Kate’s fried oyster po’ boy.

Venezia Giulia IGT Bianco “Vino Degli Orti,” Terčič (Matijaž Terčič) 2006
$32. 14% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Petit Pois, Moorestown, NJ.
A 50/50 blend of Tocai Friulano and Malvasia Istriana vinified and aged in tank. Regrettably this was a flawed bottle, robbed of its fruit by either a very low level of TCA (I’m pretty sensitive to cork taint and didn’t pick it up) or some combination of heat/oxygen ingress. Too bad, as the first bottle I’d tasted a couple of weeks earlier (sorry, no note) was quite good.

Collio Sauvignon, Terčič (Matijaž Terčič) 2007
$32. 14% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Petit Pois, Moorestown, NJ.
That’s more like it… two bad bottles from the same producer and same shipment would have been a bad sign. This was not only very good but also stood in stark, provocative contrast to the style of Ricard’s Touraine Sauvignon. Terčič’s Sauvignon was just as energetic on the palate but much richer and denser in texture, and darker in its minerality. It’s also far less aromatically potent, expressing itself more through feel, structure and depth than high toned fruit and flowers. Like “Vino Degli Orti,” this is done in tank; if I didn’t know that, though, I’d have guessed neutral wood. There’s plenty of stuffing here for richer food pairings.

Moulin-à-Vent “Cuvée Vieilles Vignes,” Domaine Diochon 2006
$19. 13% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Kermit Lynch, Berkeley, CA.
This might just be the ideal choice to pour for someone who still needs to be convinced that Beaujolais can be serious – and seriously good – wine. It’s got great fruit but also that classic granitic, brooding sensation that seems more common in Moulin-à-Vent than in any of the other Beaujolais Crus. This has great feel and fine balance and delivers waves of crunchy, dark fruit. The nose leads with black raspberries and chalk, follows with white pepper and a sense of black minerals, and ends with scents of ginger and molasses. Lively acid and grip bring it all home. Not too shabby with smoked brisket gumbo, either.

Arbois Pupillin Poulsard, Emmanuel Houillon (Pierre Overnoy) 2007
$32. 12.5% alcohol. Cork. Importer: Louis/Dressner, New York, NY.
Dinner was over at this point but we all felt like tasting something else. The choice was driven, I expect, as much by anticipated pleasure as it was by a wish for redemption after a rather awkward showing from another Houillon wine a couple of weeks earlier. There was no awkwardness this time around.

Though typical in shade for Arbois Poulard (aka, Ploussard), this might startle many with its pale iridescence in the glass, reflecting hues of green olive and orange peel when held to the light. It’s almost spritzy in its liveliness on the palate, like a winey rendition of raspberry lime seltzer. The aromas were just intoxicating. Scents of pine needle, rose petal potpourri, watermelon, lime and eucalyptus jumped out of the glass, one after the other, seemingly alternating between associations of the mountains and the shore. On the palate, it’s all about freshness of fruit and completely unmuddled flavors. Full of refreshing acidity, devoid of tannic interference and laced with rock-sucking sensations, this was just a joy to drink.


Jim Budd said...

David. Good note on the 2007. I think Vincent Ricard is one several Sauvignon Blanc producers in the Cher Valley whose wines stack up well against many Sancerres and Pouillys particularly bearing in mind their price.

David McDuff said...

Thanks for stopping by. It's definitely hard to beat Ricard's entry-level wines at their price points. I'm guessing you're thinking of Clos Roche Blanche in this context as well. Care to share your quick list of other Sauvignon producers in the Cher that you feel are worth watching/seeking out?

Jim Budd said...

David: Other producers in the Cher include: Jean-François Merieau, Jerôme Sauvete, Clos Roussely, Joël Delaunay,François Chidaine and Les Maisons Brulées (Michel Augé), although Augé's style is very different.

Do Bianchi said...

I love that Poulsard... first tasted in Quebec City at one of my favorite restaurants, Utopie... great stuff...

David McDuff said...

Thanks, Jim. Guess I have some "research" to do.

Great stuff indeed, Jeremy. Regrettably, though, it's not to be found at any restaurant in the greater Philadelphia area.

Andy said...

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

David McDuff said...

Hi Andy, and welcome. I'm keeping your comment live in hopes that it's sincere and not just a plug for your company. Please do visit often.

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