Deligeroy Cremant de Loire Brut

Price: $11.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

NV Deligeroy Cremant de Loire BrutPer K&L Wines “A pale yellow wine with tiny bubbles, this Cremant de Loire Brut is rounded and delicate with a fine, nervy, complex nose and the freshness of Chenin Blanc, floral Chardonnay and fruity Cabernet Franc from 20- to 30-year-old vines. With its lively attack, it evolves gracefully across the palate with nice aromatic persistence in the mouth and lingering notes of fresh peaches and pear.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) Blend of Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc – From Saumur in the Loire Valley of France which just happens to be the largest producer of sparkling wines outside of Champagne. This one is made in the traditional method and is pale gold, yellowish color in the glass. Fresh, crisp, and lively on the palate this one starts with toasty, baked apples and a firm lemon minerality. This all rides on top of a fine, bubbly, creamy mousse that is present throughout all the way to the dry, lingering finish. A nice QPR at $12. Be sure to let this one warm up a bit after you take it out of the fridge as it shows much better.

Wine Geek Notes: Couldn’t find the varietal percentage on this one for the life of me. If anyone happens to know holler!

Rating: Buy It

Jean-Louis Denois Brut Tradition

Price: $14.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

NV Jean-Louis Denois Brut TraditionPer K&L Wines “Outstanding sparkling wine from the Languedoc? Absolutely and resoundingly, YES! There will be those of you who will scoff at the price of this wine, and claim that a sparkling wine set so low will never be worth any serious consideration. Well, those of you would be WRONG. One of the rising stars of the Languedoc, Jean Louis Denois makes exciting, world class wines that nonetheless remain amazingly inexpensive, a fact of his location more than anything else. His vineyards sit in the very southwestern corner, at the foot of the Pyrenees, and include red, white and sparkling examples, all made from perilously low-yielding vines, vinified with as little interference as possible. Denois’ Brut Tradition is composed of 50% each pinot noir and chardonnay and spends 18 months on the lees before degorgement. It is dry, elegant and long, with notes of hazelnut, red berries and toasted bread. This is one delicious bubbly! 12.5% abv.”

What I Think:

(12.5%) 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir – Made by Jean – Louis Denois, a sixth generation winemaker with roots to Champagne, this one hails straight out of the Languedoc. More specifically from Limoux in the southwest corner of France in the foothills Pyrenees. Made in the traditional method this one has a rose hue in the glass with some initial bubbles that dissipate quickly. Dry, crisp, and refreshing on the palate with nice green apple and lime fruit followed by a rocky, lively acidity. This one is delicate with a creamy mousse throughout. The mid-palate is yeasty with a touch of nuttiness and leads to a citrus hued, lasting finish. At $15 this may be spendy (or not if you are used to buying proper Champagne) but it is worth the price of entry. The kind of wine you should always have chilled and ready to go in case a celebratory situation (or large parties/weddings) avails itself…

Wine Geek Notes: Aged 18 months on lees before disgorgement

Rating: Buy It

2010 Jaja de Jau Sauvignon Blanc

Price: $9.99 via Pasternak Wines (pdf)*

What They Said:

2010 Jaja de Jau Sauvignon BlancPer Palate Press “The nose is very aromatic, offering up tropical white flowers, sweet pink grapefruit, and a very light touch of gooseberry. The flavors tend more to citrus on the palate, lemons and white grapefruit lead the attack, adding white flowers and starfruit on the mid-palate. A distinct minerality and salinity underlie all the flavors, from start through the finish. A very strong backbone of acid runs through the wine, giving it very clean, bright flavors and the ability match up to the heaviest foods. Drink it with stuffed flounder. Highly Recommended.”

What I Think:

(11.5%) 100% Sauvignon Blanc – My 2nd vintage of this wine (I covered the ’09 here) this one is pale yellowish gold in color with a grassy nose. Bright and fresh on the nose with some red grapefruit flavors before a zingy acidity (with a tinge of mineral salitness) kicks in leading to a (whole lot of) puckering tart, lemon finish that is crisp and refreshing while lingering nicely. I was again surprised at how much I liked this one. Not tropical but New Zealand like in style this is a simple (yet aggressive) wine. That said with my penchant for exploring I’m not sure I’ll revisit this one but given two years of consistency you could certainly do far worse at the $10 (or less) you can pick this one up for… Ready made to pair with the seafood dish of your choice.

Rating: Good but…(given my exploring ways I’m unlikely to be stocking up)

*This wine was received as a press sample

2009 Perrin Cotes du Rhone Reserve

This wine is the equivalent of a long time friend. We can not talk for ages but once we do we can pick up right where we left off. Made by the Perrin brothers, the owners of the famed Chateau de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the Southern Rhone (and involved more locally with Tablas Creek) this has long been on of my go to wines. That said this was my first experience with the 2009, what did I find?

Price: $6.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Vineyard Brands

What They Said:

2009 Perrin Cotes du Rhone ReservePer wine.com “A sensational bargain, the 2009 Perrin et Fils Cotes du Rhone Reserve red is composed of 60% Grenache (from the estate vineyards at Prebois), 20% Syrah (from the estate vineyards in Vinsobres), and 20% Mourvedre. It offers lots of black cherry fruit, underbrush, licorice, pepper, and spice notes in a medium-bodied, richly fruity style with no hard edges. Their 2008 was a surprisingly good effort, but the 2009 is slightly riper and bigger.” 89pts, The Wine Advocate

What I Think:

(13.5%) 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre – A classic Rhone blend this is a tried and true value wine. Like the CdP efforts this one is predominately Grenache and starts ripe and juicy with pomegranate, cherry, raspberry and spiced red licorice on the palate. From there the acidity dries turning this one meaty, earthy and rustic before a short peppery finish. That said overall this one is bright, fruity, spicy and delicious. Should only get better with age to boot…

Wine Geek Notes: 87pts Wine Spectator, 89 pts Wine Advocate, 75,000 cases made

Rating: Buy It (I’m leaning towards grabbing 6+ bottles for some short term cellaring)

2009 Sainte Leocadie Minervois Rosé

2009 Domaine Sainte Leocadie Minervois RoséPrice: $4.99 @ K&L Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “What do you get when you combine saigneed grapes (40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Cinsault) with one of Southern France’s most ideal terroirs? This deeply colored pink wine is a poolside sipper if there ever was one. Plenty of spice, garrigue and red fruits. Great with grilled Provencal pizza!”

What I Think:

(13%) 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Cinsault – A saignée style rose of the Minervois this one is beautiful salmon pink in color. On the palate this is full and dry with briary strawberry notes showing over a mineral acidity that slowly fades on a soft, spiced finish. A bit richer than your typical rose (attributable to the saignee syle) makes this one a bit better suited to go with a summer lunch than as a patio sipper. Either way for $6 (which is what I paid; $5 now) this is a steal…

Rating: Buy It

2010 Quinson Fils Rose

Long a fan of rosé from Provence not only was I curious but just had to see what this one could deliver for a five spot…

Price: $4.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

2010 Quinson Fils RoseHmmm… Not a word to be found. Guess you’ll just have to trust me…

What I Think:

(12.5%) Nice pale salmon pink color (not dyed). Medium bodied, pleasant Grenache like strawberry and watermelon fruit. Spiced minerality. Dry, crisp and pleasing. Perhaps a bit faint or simple on the back of the palate but no flaws here. Still delivers for the price point despite the strange bottle. If you are looking for a rose this is as good as it is going to get for $5 (unless you can grab the 2009 Domaine Sainte Leocadie Minervois Rosé at K&L Wines).

Rating: Buy It (if you’re a rosé fan…)

2009 Domaine de la Noblaie Chinon

2009 Domaine de la Noblaie ChinonPrice: $14.99 @ K&L Wines imported by David Headrick Selections

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “My new house red! This is produced all in stainless and solely from Cabernet Franc which is grown on a limestone slope. It has a rich ruby color and excellent structure. A nice fruity style of Chinon, this value-priced wine has a subtle peppery spice, ripe dark berries, soft chalky mineral character that really makes the fruit core come to life and express the fantastic character of Cabernet Franc. There are rich tannins on the finish and a juicy freshness throughout. I swear to you that you can actually taste the fresh glow of the summertime sun right in this bottle. Absolutely stellar while enjoying a burger right off the grill or even with a simple thin crust pizza. Just a pure, unadulterated wine meant to be enjoyed while moving along the game board of life.”

What I Think:

(13%) 100% Cabernet Franc – Bright red berries with juicy dark currant flavors. Nice acidity, nice crushed stone mineral with a smoky, spicy finish that lingers on warmly. Nice green, herbal streak throughout. Delicious! Chinon is definitely an under looked star in the (QPR) value world! Time to pop my 2004 to make sure it delivers. Once confirmed I’ll load a case of this one into the cellar…

Wine Geek Notes: Produced in all stainless. Grown on a limestone slope

Rating: Wow!

2009 Willm Gentil

AlsaceI’ve long professed my love for the Alsace [Ahl-zass]. And for those reading along regularly you might remember as part of my 2010 ABC’s A was indeed for Alsace as I committed to exploring the region further. Tucked in eastern corner of France bordering Germany and Switzerland this is one the smaller French regions and has a pronounced German influence (it has changed hands four times between France and Germany).

This is no more prevalent than in the wines of the region (though it also happens to be the main beer-producing area of France) which are mostly white and display a strong Germanic influence. Most are made from the noble grapes of the Alsace (Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer or Muscat) and blends from the area are usually known as Edelzwicker (Edel=noble and Zwicker=mixture) meaning a mixture of noble grapes. Navarro Vineyards happens to make one of my favorite versions but that said I’m pretty sure I’ve never had one I didn’t like from abroad. Would this be the wine to change that?

Price: $8.99 @ Wine Library imported by Monsieur Touton Selection

What They Said:

2009 Willm GentilPer snooth.com “The Gentil Willm is a traditionnal blend going back to the 19th century from selected grapes grown in the best hillside vineyards. Gentil Willm is an alliance of Riesling (used for its finesse and acidity), Pinot Gris (used for its structure), Muscat (used for its powerfull fruit aromas) and Pinot Blanc (used for its fruit and suppleness). We generally use in our blend 70 – 80% of the noble grapevarieties. The Willm Gentil offers a dry and clean mouthfeel with an elegant and harmonious balance. Serve with cold meats; seafood; fowl; salads; soft cheeses.”

What I Think:

(12%) Riesling 30%, Pinot Gris 30%, Pinot Blanc 30%, Muscat 10% – Floral blossom nose with big white apple and pear flavors on the palate leading to a nice mineral driven acidity on a lasting, ever so slightly sweet, finish that is both refreshing and lengthy. Reminds of the Now & Zen I enjoyed for so many years…

Rating: Buy It