Selections for November 2016

Rarely seen in these parts

2014 COMMANDERIE de la BARGEMONE BLANC – Coteaux d’Aix en Provence, France

I’d like you to drink this with Thanksgiving dinner if possible, and if it must wait for a later feast please don’t let it wait too long:  This 2014 is in its prime but won’t linger much longer in the range of non-oxidative drinkability.  Besides, its clean and soft pear fruit, fig leaf scents, and gentle lanolin texture will work very well with the bird!

When I call this “rare for these parts” I’m referring to the color of the wine.  Every year we taste and buy several dry rosés from Aix en Provence.  They may be my favorite of the pink genre, and Commanderie de la Bargemone (founded by the Knights Templar in the 13th Century) makes one of the best.  WHITE wine certainly happens here, too, but it doesn’t get out much.  In fact, The Wine Steward hasn’t shown you an Aix Blanc until now.  It’s a market issue:  The pink stuffe crowds out this lesser-known version.

Three grapes participate in this easygoing blend.  The first (50%) is Rolle, known elsewhere (especially Italy) as Vermentino.  It is known for contributing melon flavors and textures, and – sometimes – a sense of brine.  The next contributor (30%) is Sauvignon Blanc, and we expect to see herbal and grassy aspects from that one.  Next up:  10% Ugni Blanc, perhaps slightly better known as Trebbiano.  I might anticipate a dry straw/hay mellowness from Ugni.  Finally, there’s a 10% addition from Grenache Blanc, which gives citrus, white peach, and/or resin as the wine ages.

We hope you enjoy this rare club submission – as soon as possible! 

Heard of it?

2015 KIM CRAWFORD ‘Unoaked’ CHARDONNAY – East Coast, New Zealand

Kim Crawford (that’s a guy, by the way) has more visibility in the grocery stores than nearly any other Sauvignon Blanc; that green-label is so availably ubiquitous there’s no reason for TWS to show it to you. 

Our reasons for showing you an alternative product from a very big producer are several.  First, you don’t see this one as often.  Second, with your wine club discount we are beating virtually every price offered by any other purveyor in the country.  So you’re getting value.  Third, and most importantly, this is delicious juice.

As you know, Chardonnay varies wildly in style.  Rombauer specializes in the ultra-buttery, oaky, and slightly sweet concoction.  180 degrees away from that:  France’s Chablis; cool-climate fruit grown in prehistoric seabed and often forsaking the oak treatment.  In between are renditions from all over the world verging toward one extreme or the other, amplifying flavors with treatments such as barrel fermentation or batonnage and/or extended lees contact.  We love tweaking this grape!

So there are a lot of valid types of Chardonnay, depending on your palate, your paycheck, your mood, your food, and your surrounding friends.  This Kim Crawford is determined to show you unfettered fruit.  The grape grew riper than – say – pristine Chablis, but barrels were omitted in its making.  This is all about citrus, barely-ripe pineapple, and a touch of fresh green herbs.  The textures are generously lush yet clean.

We are bringing you a Chardonnay of this type right now because of its accommodation of the coming Thanksgiving feast.  While a more buttery / oaky type can easily trounce the more delicate turkey flavors, this more streamlined Kim Crawford will add refreshment to a rather ponderous food menu.

And don’t forget:  Our price kicks it!!

Happy Thanksgiving!