Archive for December, 2011

Holiday Wine Picks With The Langford Family

December 22, 2011

It is the Holiday Season, meaning it is time to suffer through my mother’s cooking while criticizing my family’s wine choices!  What do you have in store for us family?

We go through this about every Christmas Sister… Veuve Clicquot is owned by multinational luxury goods conglomerate LVMH which is Louis Vuitton, Hennessey, Christian Dior, Marc Jacobs and a bunch of other high priced crap.  Veuve Clicquot produces a million cases of boring sparkling plonk a year from pre-made sugar wine from all over Champagne and probably even Algeria.  It’s garbage.  People buy it because of commodity fetishism.

Instead I recommend this lovely sparkling wine from Moselle which is on the northern most French side of the France-Luxembourg border. Alérions of Château de Vaux is a Blanc de Blanc blend of Auxerrois and Pinot Gris.  This high elevation, cool climate wine is nutty and fresh, firm and fruity and will cut through any shape of processed cheese.

Sorry Mother, but just like Francis Ford Coppola, Ramona Singer is not a winemaker.

Instead I thought an old Muscadet from 1997 would be fun to whip out.  Comte de Saint Hubert is an age worthy wine from Château du Coing de Saint-Fiacre.  The juice comes from 100 year old vines and spends 3 years on its lees (dead yeast leftovers) before bottling AND it is their current release.  It is fresh and vibrant, savory and stony.  It could possibly be the perfect oyster wine…or green bean casserole wine.

Wrong again…dammit Dad!  The Cupcake Wines are bullshit, another mass-produced, mass-marketed brand from the makers of Franzia box wine.  They are buying grape juice from California, Argentina, Australia, Italy and New Zealand and are using super science to make the most dumb-downed swill ever.  Shitty stores like Target and Walmart sell it.

Instead I thought I would treat you to an all natural wine from Buzet.  Buzet, a region in South-West France used to give Bordeaux a run for its money before being screwed over by the outbreak of the vineyard killing phylloxera bug.  The 2006 Domaine du Pech “Le Pech Abusé” uses same grapes from similiar soils as in Bordeaux but is way cooler.  The farming is biodynamic, the vinification is started with only ambient yeasts and the finished wine is un-fined and un-filtered.  It is dark fruited and haunting, ballsy and grippy.

NV Château de Vaux Alérions Blanc de Blanc.  $16. Imported by Potomac Selections.

1997 Château du Coing de Saint-Fiacre Comte de Saint Hubert.  $22.  Imported by Williams Corner Wine.

2006  Domaine du Pech Le Pech Abusé.  $26.  Imported by Williams Corner Wine.

Did You Know That There is Old Wine Available in Richmond?

December 8, 2011

Old wine, mature wine, ancient wine from erstwhile 1999.

Dreams of a bygone era gave us Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant’s love affair in the picture show “Notting Hill” , new world Ford acquired old world Volvo and writer Stephen King was hit by a mini-van, but the most important occurrence of this departed year was a wine harvested from the lost realm of Bandol.

The Bandol wine region of Provence sits on the coastal mountain ranges above the Mediterranean.  The best vineyards are situated north of the charming seaside town of Bandol in the communes of Le Castellet, Evenos and La Cadière d’Azur.  The terraced plots of silicon and limestone heavy soils are planted with mostly the Mourvèdre grape and it is one of the only places in the world where it will fully ripen thanks to the combination of hot sunshine and cool northern Mistral winds.  The wines are spicy, animalistic and wild.  In their youth the reds are stiff and tannic and need years to mellow to display their full range of meaty weight and Provencal herbal aromas.

1999 Domaine du Gros’ Noré Bandol Rouge.  $45. Imported by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.  

There once was a gentleman named Honoré Pascal (called Noré by his friends) that farmed 16 hectares of vines and sold his fruit to some of the most famous producers in the area including Domaine Ott and Château de Pibarnon.   After his death in 1997 his son Alain took over and began estate bottling the wines under the name Gros’ Noré after his father (gros’ means “fat”).  1999 was a cherished year producing ripe fruit balanced with strong substance and a plucky bouquet.  It is only the third vintage of this wine and there is loads of it available in Richmond at a reasonable price considering how expensive the more famous Bandols from Domaine Tempier and Chateau Pradeaux can be.

Nice lookin 12 year old cork.   Most people won’t hesitate to spend $50 on bottle of wine at a restaurant.  Wouldn’t it be nice to prepare a leg of lamb at home with some rosemary and garlic and drink this beauty alongside it?  Maybe take this wine to Bistro Bobette on free corkage night Monday and have the chef’s beef tenderloin, or show up to Enoteca Sogno on free corkage night Tuesday and have pork chops?
Don’t let Bandol become just another footnote in history.