Selections for September 2017

The name change didn’t hurt a bit . . .

2016 GIORGIOZ FRIULANO – Friuli, Italy

Here is a benevolent reply to naysayers declining Italian white wine because it’s “too thin and watery.”  Admittedly, GiorgioZ never saw vanilla-conferring oak, nor has this youngster been enriched by Father Time’s application of oxidation.  – But this does seem easier, broader, and slightly richer on the palate than your leaner, less generous Italian zingers, right?

This is the Friulano grape as grown in the Friuli region of northeast Italy.  It used to go by the moniker “Tocai Friulano” but Hungary’s wine industry politely (or not?) asked the Northern Italians to shorten the name.  Hungary’s claim-to-fame wine is the decadently sweet “Tokaj” and that wine country feared there would be confusion between their baby and Italy’s dry wine.

So, after all that geeky chatter, let’s try this nice white which has never yet come to California.  Give it a good sniff and discover some seductive muskmelon qualities along with baking spices, chopped celery, and white pepper.  Taste AND feel it to appreciate the six months it spent on its lees (helping with the enrichment).  This is soft yet tangy, broad yet narrow, and replete with white fruit flavors. 

What to eat with it?  Glad you asked:  Fish and Chips or any tempura-style fare.  Some of the best deep-fried food I’ve eaten happened here!     

If it’s Reverdy, it must be Sancerre – OR close to it!

2016 JEAN-MARIE REVERDY et FILS – (Nearly) Sancerre

Sancerre is not a grape.  Sancerre is a wine region named for the iconic town within.  I haven’t visited in years, but I’ve been DRINKING Sancerre ever since my memorable visit.

We more rarely see red and pink versions of Sancerre, made from Pinot Noir.  What we more often see – and what’s currently quite the thing to drink around here – is the white made from Sauvignon Blanc.  Sancerre “Blanc” can veer from fruity with gooseberry and lime and nectarine, to a greener and more stony side of the scent and flavor spectrum.  What especially determines this (aside a winemaking decision or two) is soil type; Sancerre is blessed with an array of these.  The same chalky material comprising England’s Cliffs of Dover resurfaces here.  There is also sand – and flint – and gravelly alluvials.  Each of these contributes to Sancerre’s prevailing theme of what we call “minerality”.  Apart from the fruit element we should always be reminded of damp concrete or wet rock when savoring good Sancerre.

The labels displayed above all feature the same surname, but each comes from a different family winery.  There’s quite the concentration of ‘Reverdys’ in the Sancerre region; I wish I could find my snapshot of a winery directional sign I saw there:  “Turn left,” “Go straight,” “Turn right,” or “Turn around” for one-or-another Domaine Reverdy!  Here is Jean-Michel Reverdy’s Sauvignon Blanc.  The producer does a more popular (and higher-priced) “Sancerre” but the grapes for this more affordable value come outside the boundaries; vineyards more generally appended as “Val de Loire.”  I think it’s a beautiful echo of the more famous wine:  Barely-ripe white peaches and apricots along with a vibrant sense of citrus invade the nose.  Angular yet generous textures enliven the palate.  Certainly, some would guess “Sancerre!” in a blind tasting.  Then come the raised eyebrows when the bottle – and its price – are revealed!

This classy Sancerre wannabe is terrific with chilled seafood salads.  For a simpler pairing consider the food product also local to this region, chevre.  In a pinch, try our domestic reply to Loire Valley chevre:  “Bijou” crotins are conveniently located in the display case just downstairs from my glass of Reverdy!