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Archive for the ‘Value Pick’ Category

Domaine Pierre de la Grange is considered one of the best domaines of the Nantais, a region that marks the most northwestern point of all France’s vineyards. Pierre and his wife Monique are the seventh generation (the family has owned the property for more than 200 years) to run Domaine Pierre de la Grange, though their wines are more likely to be found listed under Luneau-Papin or even Pierre Luneau, than under the estate’s true name. They have approximately 40 hectares of vines, with 38 hectares planted to Melon de Bourgogne and the remaining 2 hectares committed to red varieties. The vineyards are situated in Le Landreau, Vallet and La Chapelle Heulin, about 20 kilometres from Nantes itself. The vines average forty-five years although some are over seventy.

There is a broad and varied range of cuvées produced at Luneau-Papin, which in many cases reflect vineyard or terroir of origin. The leading cuvées are the L d’Or (a weighty expression of Melon de Bourgogne) and the Semper Excelsior Clos des Noëlles.

L d’Or is sourced from vines more than 45 years old grown on granite and mica terroirs in Vallet, one of the Sèvre et Maine communes. The vines are cared for along the lines of lutte raisonnée, and are nourished with just a little organic manure. The fruit is harvested by hand, pressed using pneumatic equipment, and the juice is then allowed to settle before a four week temperature-controlled fermentation by indigenous yeasts, regulated to 20ºC. There is also a warmer macération pelliculaire, a period of skin contact, at 30ºC. The wine is then stored sur lie for nine months before bottling.

The nose is a bit reserved with some citrus, mineral and floral notes. It’s a bit more revealing on the palate. Stony minerality with citrus, orchard fruit and some creamy almond notes. Rich and broad, good acidity and complexity.  A great example of what some age can do with Muscadet — and I wouldn’t hesitate to sit on this for another 5-7 years (or more). Recommended and an outstanding value at $22 a bottle. 12% alcohol. Imported by Louis/Dressner.

Related posts:
Pierre Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Le L d’Or 2005
Pierre Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Excelsior 2005
Pepiere Muscadet Sevre et Maine “3″ 2005
Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite de Clisson 2007
Domaine de la Pépière “Vieilles Vignes” Clos des Briords Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2007
Michel Brégeon Muscadet Sevre et Maine 2002

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Angel Lopez and his family founded this winery in 2002 after spending years in the nursery business in Valdeorras. D.O.Valdeorras (Apellation of Origin or Designation of Origin), the second oldest in Galicia and recognized since 1945. Native to the region, the Lopez family supplied a majority of the wineries with their vines and have been on the forefront of Valdeorras’ reborn interest in the Godello varietal. Godello was one of the original varietals grown in the region by the Romans over two thousand years ago, since then the grape has slowly drifted toward obscurity until newer winemakers in the area decided to resurrect this unique varietal that is native to Valdeorras.

The family farms a total of 10 hectares comprised of several different vineyard sites all located in the area around the winery at A Rua. The parcels have varying exposures and elevations but share slate soils and the Godello grape as a unifying element. As the most in-land part of Galicia, Valdeorras enjoys warmer days than most of the region but still benefits from the cool air traveling along the river Sil. A Coroa’s vineyard plots are up on the hillsides (mostly around 500m elevation) rather than near the valley floor where it can get very hot in the summer, with temperatures at times exceeding 40 degrees Celsius. Vines average some 15 years of age.

All the vineyards are hand harvested. Viticulture is sustainable with a minimal amount of herbicides and pesticides used (the winery is transitioning to being fully organic). All the parcels are fermented using indigenous yeast and at low temperatures to extract maximum aromas and flavors. The wines are then aged on the lees for 6 months and a blend is made from the best lots to create A Coroa.

Golden straw in color. Stone and orchard fruit, citrus, white flower and mineral aromatics. On the palate, zesty and zippy citrus with honeydew and green apple — with a hint of thyme and a solid mineral core. Great acidity and grip with a long finish. 13.5% alcohol. Imported by De Maison Selections. I have seen this as low as $16 and as high as $21 a bottle. It takes a little bit of work to locate but it’s worth the effort.

I recently wrote about another Godello, Adega O Casal Novo Godello 2007 — which I really enjoyed and I thought this was as good if not even better. Strongly recommended.

Related post:
Adega O Casal Novo Godello 2007

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Adega O Casal was founded in 2000 by five partners sharing the ideal of capturing the true varietal and optimum expression of the indigenous Godello and Mencía grapes. Starting with inherited family plots at high elevation near the village of Rubía, vineyard area has gradually expanded to the current six hectares. Viticulture is meticulous, seeking low yields. For a number of years, winemaking (though technically advanced) was conducted in a garage in Rubia. A new winery was expected to be ready for the 2008 harvest.

Godello is a white variety of wine grape found in northwestern Spain, in particular Galicia. The Gouveio found in northern Portugal is thought to be the same grape variety. Godello produces some of the best white wines in Spain and yields the best results in Valdeorras. Valdeorras is a beautiful region in Galicia with some 43 wineries and about 1,400 hectares under vine. Valdeorras is 100 miles inland — the terrain is mountainous, the roots of the vines burrow deep into the rock-hard ground, clinging to the steep slopes and leaching minerals from the slate-based soil. The stresses created by this harsh landscape give Godello from Valdeorras its distinctive character.

Spain has been getting a lot of press and attention as a provider of value white wine and Godello is one of my favorites at the moment. There are some that are a little thin — and would encourage selecting from those that don’t see any oak. The Casal Novo is a great example of quality Godello that can be found at $19 a bottle. It shows pronounced floral and fruit on the nose, with notes of orange blossom and wildflowers, stone fruits, melon and minerals. Peach, pear and citrus on the palette with a touch of honey. Great purity of fruit. Lots of minerality with zippy acidity and lengthy, bracing finish. 12.5% alcohol. Imported by Classical Wines. Recommended.

Related post:
A Coroa Godello 2008

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Domaine Pierre de la Grange is considered one of the best of the Nantais, a region that marks the most northwestern point of all France’s vineyards. Pierre and his wife Monique are the seventh generation of to run Domaine Pierre de la Grange, though their wines are more likely to be found listed under Luneau-Papin or even Pierre Luneau, than under the estate’s true name.

They have approximately 40 hectares of vines, with 38 hectares planted to Melon de Bourgogne and the remaining 2 hectares committed to red varieties. The vineyards are situated in Le Landreau, Vallet and La Chapelle Heulin, about 20 kilometres from Nantes itself. The vines average forty-five years although some are well into their seventh decade.

There is a broad and varied range of cuvées produced at Luneau-Papin, which in many cases reflect vineyard or terroir of origin. The leading cuvées are the L d’Or and the Semper Excelsior Clos des Noëlles. I wrote about the Excelsior a couple of weeks back. Not a very expressive nose, but thought what it brought in flavor more than made up for whatever it lacked in aromatics.

The L d’Or is more aromatic with citrus and mineral notes. It is also a little more ripe on the palate. Citrus, orchard fruit with mineral flavors and a some herbs. Good weight and acidity.  This was very good as well, but for me the Excelsior had an ethereal quality that really captured my attention. Still, the L d’Or certainly delivers and I would certainly recommend it — and would not be surprised if many preferred it over the Excelsior. These wines are still young and have a lot of life, so it will be very interesting to see how they show in another 3-4 years. Given the quality of the wine, this is also a very good value at $18 a bottle. 12% alcohol. Imported by Louis/Dressner.

Related post:
Pierre Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Excelsior 2005
Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite de Clisson 2007
Domaine de la Pépière “Vieilles Vignes” Clos des Briords Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 2007

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I made a few wine resolutions for 2010. One of them was to drink more Muscadet.

Muscadet has always been the perfect pairing with oysters, so I usually will order it in a restaurant since I don’t shuck many oysters at home. However, Muscadet is not only for pairing for oysters. It is a very versatile food wine. The low alcohol doesn’t overwhelm and the wine’s acidity makes it a great pairing for many rich dishes — and certainly a great pairing for most seafood. Muscadet often is a very good value play as well.

Beyond the virtues of the grape, there are some very talented winemakers from the appellation as well. No survey of Muscadet would be complete without experiencing the wines from Domaine de la Pépière, home to Marc Ollivier. This particular bottle is a very-old-vine cuvée of Muscadet from a single-plot vineyard in schist, the Clos des Briords. These are among the oldest vines in his estate (planted in 1930) and all the vineyards are from original stock. Ollivier is the only grower in the Muscadet who does not have a single clonal selection in his vineyards.

Ollivier takes his time in the vineyard and the cellar. Ripening is slower, and the longer hang-time before harvest allows for optimal maturity.  He hand harvests (also a rarity in the region), uses natural yeasts, waits for the wine to finish and bottles with a very light filtration. Because of the soil and greater concentration achieved with old vines, the Clos des Briords is a more powerful wine that most Muscadets. It is very mineral and quite austere in its youth, rather than fruity and light. Over a few months, or even years, if one can wait for it, it develops much complexity in aromatics and structure.

Aromatics of apple, citrus and saline. Great precision on the palate with sharp acidity. Loaded with citrus and crushed rock with some orchard fruit. Briney, stoney and chalky. A tremendous value at $16-$17 a bottle. 12% alcohol. Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.

Also interesting to note, that Joe Dressner tweeted on January 30 —  Finished Tasting in Muscadet. Marc Olliver thinks 2009 is best he has made — I will certainly be on the look out for the 2009s.

Related post:
Pierre Luneau-Papin Muscadet Sèvre et Maine sur lie Excelsior 2005
Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite de Clisson 2007

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Last night I wanted some comfort — but I didn’t want to make the effort to try and put comfort on a plate. It was a long week and I didn’t have the energy. So I went downstairs and tried to find the best bet in a bottle. I opted for the Beaumont from Catherine and Pierre Breton. I have never had a wine from them that I didn’t enjoy and the 04 Beaumont delivered it in spades. Deep purple in color. Instant satisfaction from aromatics of dark fruit, violet, earth, black olive with smoke, herbs and some funk. Ripe, velvety and textured on the palate. A interesting mash of black and green — black cherry, blackcurrant and black olive with green olive, green vegetable, tobacco leaf and herbs.

A lot of wine and comfort at $13 a bottle. Strongly recommended. Imported by Kermit Lynch.

The 2005 Breton Beaumont was an LA Times pick of the week.

Other wines from Catherine & Pierre Breton:
Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil Les Perrières 2005
Catherine & Pierre Breton Bourgueil Nuits d’Ivresse, 2004
Charles Joguet

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Shaya is a joint project among Jorge Ordonez, Enrique Busto and the Gil family of Jumilla. Their Verdejo is produced from very old low yielding vines whose average age is between 75 and 112 years old.

Spain has an appellation system for wine like France and Italy with the main classification of quality wine is Denominación de Origen (DO). Rueda gained DO status in 1980, the first DO to be approved in the Castilla y León region. While Sauvignon Blanc and Viura can also be used, only wines produced with at least 50 percent Verdejo are permitted to be labeled Rueda. For the Rueda Superior designation, at least 85 percent must be Verdejo. Sauvignon Blanc became an authorized variety for the Rueda DO in 1985. In fact, the importance of this grape is underscored by the fact that it has its own appellation, Rueda Sauvignon, which has to be 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc.

Shaya’s Verdejo is light yellowish gold in color. Stonefruit with tropical fruit and citrus on the nose. On the palate, orchard fruit, melon, tropical and citrus notes with a litte white pepper and spice. Vibrant acidity with a clean finish. Very approachable and quaffable. I thought this was very good and a excellent value at $12 a bottle.

Related post:
Bodega Ángel Rodríguez Martinsancho Verdejo Rueda DO 2008

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