So as you guys know I’ve been on a French wine kick after reading Zraly’s chapter on French whites, and tonight I’m sipping on the 2nd bottle of my purchase from the other day. But before I move onto that I just wanted to quickly mention two bottles I had a chance to pop the other night with some friends:
I was sure I was going to love this one. Southern France, Viognier, wine… three of my favorite things in a bottle! But actually I found it a little boring, none of the heavy honeysuckly humid summer-evoking lushness I tend to associate with Viognier. It was perfectly good and don’t get me wrong, down the hatch it went for me and my friends, but it was nothing special. I gave it a 3,5 on Vivino and seems like that’s pretty much the standard rating. I have a feeling Viognier needs the weather to be a bit cooler and more extreme than the location of this vineyard (not too far from Marseille).
I liked this better than the white but was also not blown away by it – lots of ripe, dark fruit and IMO a better bottle to judge the Côtes du Rhône region by (it was a Grenache-Syrah blend which is pretty typical). Again perfectly good but not spectacular in any way shape or form. I’d drink it again definitely but without any huge expectations.
OK so now down to brass tacks. Tonight I popped the cork on the Sancèrre I bought at Isla Catavinos in the hopes of actually tasting some of the types of French white wine Kevin Zraly talks about in his fantastic book “Windows on the World Complete Wine Course“.
The wine is “La Moussière” from Alphonse Mellot, vintage 2017, AOC Sancèrre.
And What. A. Fantastic. Fucking. Wine.
Honestly it’s been a long time since I drank something I was so delighted by. It’s easy to drink. It’s fresh and acidic but with a nice subtle sweetness halfway through the sip that leaves it feeling round and oh-so-satisfying in the mouth. It smells like grapefruit, and freshly picked wildflowers, and wet stones, bringing to mind the innocence of childhood. The only thing it’s lacking in my extremely humble opinion is a little bit of complexity – instead of posing questions this wine just gives a resounding answer to the question “what would I like to drink?”.
I read a great post the other day on the “typical fruit salad of wine tasting” which I definitely agree with to a certain point, and also have appreciated Zraly’s advice to hold the wine in your mouth for 60 full seconds before coming to a decision, and so have made a draft of a tasting sheet (if I find it useful more than a few times and decide it’s not copyright infringement I’ll share it at some point) that basically looks far more at “do I like it or not, what do I like about it?” rather than what exact fruits, herbs, vegetables, types of leather, cigar or other boxes, etc…. it smells and tastes of. My final notes for this wine are “I’d rate this higher if it were just a bit more complex because I kind of like wines that make me want to think about them, and this one is so good I just want to keep drinking. Truly brilliant, wonderfully balanced, refreshing and delicious. Bouquet evolving after being in the glass for about 10 minutes. I will definitely be repeating this one.“. So basically what I just said in the previous paragraph – good thing I don’t have an editor who would make me re-write one of them ;P
On a mildly more intellectual note, the coolest thing I learned from the Wikipedia article is that Sancèrre is on the same chalk substrate that makes up the White Cliffs of Dover on the other side of the Channel, which I guess makes for that mineral riverstone aroma I noticed. At any rate I highly recommend it and so far, Chablis 10, Loire Valley 100000000000+