Monday, November 01, 2010

Wines with Turkey and Ham

Last Thursday I did an experimental tasting with Bruce Kinsey at QFC Factoria. Bruce was looking for 'something new' in the way of wines for Thanksgiving. Bruce had the brilliant idea of running over to the deli and getting a piece of turkey and a piece of ham, so that we could get scientific instead of speculative. Everybody knows the classic matches, gewurztraminer or riesling for the whites, Beaujolais or Pinot for reds. I freely admit that there were some real surprises - some wines I was sure were going to be great were just OK and others came out of left field as amazing matches. Interestingly, there were even a couple of wines that performed well with both meats - no small feat!

These were the winners:

The overall winner was also the least expensive wine - the Domaine du Prince Costieres de Nimes Blanc. It was a great match with both meats, really doing well with both.

Another great match with the Turkey was the Domaine des Forges Anjou Blanc. A fairly atypical Anjou (weightier than most and with a light touch of botrytis) It was a seamless match that surprised us both. The Cote Roannaise (gamay) from Lapandery was also a good match with the turkey.

This was another big surprise - the Lapandery was not a great match with ham so we didn't expect much from the Coteaux du Giennois Rouge from Domaine Poupat as it is also a medium-bodied, fairly acidic red. This wine, 60% gamay and 40% pinot noir was revelatory - it blew away all of the other wines as a match for the ham, and was good with the Turkey too.

These wines are all available at QFC Factoria if you are in that neighborhood, otherwise call your habitual retailer to special order.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Now this something you don't often see...

I presold these to a large and influential retailer who canceled their entire order because a fair percentage were leaking and/or had damaged capsules. The economy went south right around that time so I was left holding a fair number of these rarities.

from an earlier post:

"I was sceptical about this domaine. I do a lot of Rhones and I asked myself, "do I really need another expensive Cotes du Rhone?" That they had no Village wines was also not exactly a point in their favor (they now have one Village wine - a Plan de Dieu). After tasting the 2004 CDR "Prestige des Garrigues" (a coup de coeur in Hachette), I realized that it made more sense to view this wine as a cheap (and GOOD) Chateauneuf rather than an expensive CDR. Seriously, you could really embarass some people by bringing a Prestige des Garrigues to a brown bag Chateauneuf tasting."

The domaine is located halfway between Chateauneuf and Gigondas on what must be some of the best non-village land available, 2km to the north of Courthezon and 2km to the east of Beaucastel.

OK, what would does one have to pay for large formats of this excellent CDP-alike? Much less than you think, I'm pretty sure. These have all been tasted numerous times and will not disappoint or fail to impress. If you have holiday parties coming up, or are looking for a unique gift, here you go.


1999 Prestige des Garrigues 1.5L
1999 Prestige des Garrigues 3L
2000 Prestige des Garrigues 3L
2001 Prestige des Garrigues 5L

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Sweet Loires

With the Alcoholidays upon us, it's time to revisit the amazing late harvest chenins available at Millesime:

2003 Coteaux du Layon SGN 500 ml - Amazing 'entry-level SGN' - a great way to see what the fuss is about at a bargain price.
2002 Bonnezeaux SGN 500 ml - Very serious complexity, still very very young and showing plenty of 'baby fat'.

2005 Coteaux du Layon "Les Onnis" - the 'Poor Man's Quart de Chaume', from a parcel adjacent to QdC. This particular wine is the peer of many QdC.

2005 Quarts de Chaume - A quarter of the production of this vineyard was always given as tribute to the Lord of the land in pre-Revolutionary times. Not hard to see why, the wine is absolutely packed with goodies, and a 750ml bottle costs much less than an inferior 375 of Huet...

2001 Coteaux du Layon Saint-Aubin SGN 500ml - The best of the best. 5hl/ha yields. The finish is about 5 minutes - insane!

I've never been able to understand how one can say that they are into wine, and yet have no experience of these sublime nectars. The "Grand Bob" himself either doesn't know what they are or doesn't care - hard to say which is worse. Chenin is similar to riesling in that wines made from it can range from bone dry to toothachingly sweet, always with a level of acid that ensures both pleasure in drinking at all stages of development and great longevity in the cellar - it is no exaggeration to claim that these 5 wines will outlive us all.

These two estates are masters of the dry (sec), late-harvest (moelleux), and super late harvest TBA style (liquoreux) styles, which may or may not be botrytised. These 5 wines are all in the liquoreux style and exhibit a plethora of heady aromas and flavors of candied fruits, honey, nougat and an incredible richness. The high acidity of the wines invites another taste, never fatiguing the palate.

Fans of botrytis, or "pourriture noble" need look no further than the 3 SGNs that I have available for your delectation. There are precious few grape varieties that are improved by botrytis, and chenin is clearly right there with riesling in producing absolutely stunning and ethereal wines. The good news is that a great "grains nobles" from the Loire is much, much less expensive than comparable German riesling Trockenbeerenauslesen, or one of the classified Sauternes. Another point in the Loire's favor, at least to my taste is that like the German TBA and unlike Sauternes, the wines show little if any wood.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Alicante wines are coming to PCC

This is a delightful range of affordable wines from Alicante, situated between Valencia and Cartagena on the Mediterrannean coast of Spain. They will be available at your local PCC store by the end of September.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Loire Tasting

The Loire tasting yesterday was well-attended, not as much as last year's. I had 31 'unique visits'. Lots of enthusiasts but few buyers. A huge percentage of attendees were from Portland and it seems to me this event would be a lot more successful were it to be held in Portland instead of Seattle.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Loire Valley Wine Tasting is just days away!

This coming Monday 9/13 is the Loire Valley Wine Bureau tasting at the Palace Ballroom in Seattle. If you are looking for the most decadent sweet Chenins, look no further than my table! Coteaux du Layon, Layon Chaume, Layon St-Aubin, Quarts de Chaume, Bonnezeaux... Whether you are a connoisseur or an amateur, an incredible experience is assured.

Friday, July 09, 2010


New and exciting wines From AOC Costières de Nîmes are on their way to Millésime. Of the many cooperatives in the region, The Cave de Générac produces outstanding quality for the money, and I've been proud to represent them since 2003. The prices have gone up somewhat over the years but these wines are still cheap for what they are - very solid Southern Rhone style wines. They are scheduled to arrive in Seattle the first week of August, 2010. Bargains that they are, these will go fast so please feel free to reserve some today!


2008 Costières de Nîmes Blanc
A blend of Grenache Blanc and Clairette, it has nice floral notes with some beeswax, rich with good acidity. Awesome shellfish wine.

2009 Costières de Nîmes Rosé
A blend of 75% syrah and 25% grenache. Fairly deep color for this somewhat muscular rosé, bone dry with gobs of fruit.

2006 Costières de Nîmes Rouge
A blend of 75% syrah and 25% grenache. Inky purple color, dense dark fruits with chocolatey notes. Very smooth tannins.