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

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

2009 Domaine de Guillemarine Picpoul de Pinet

2009 Domaine de Guillemarine Picpoul de Pinet Price: $9.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Picpoul de Pinet is considered the “Muscadet” of the south. Grown just meters from the oyster beds of the Bassin de Thau, the wine marries perfectly with fish and shellfish. Picpoul (also known as Folle Blanche or Gros Plant) means “lip stinger,” which refers to the high acidity of its must. Great with oysters and seafood. This wine is crisp, but quite long and full with nice floral and mineral notes in the nose. Bracing acidity backs up a wine with surprising breed for this price point.”

What I Think:

First a bit on the varietal. Picpoul de Pinet is considered the “Muscadet” of the south and Picpoul means “lip stinger” in reference to the high acidity of these wines. This one shows papaya and lemon notes on the nose while hinting of effervescence (that never does come through) and a saline quality. The palate as expected shows a tight, racy acidity with a firm rocky, mineral backbone that displays notes of lemon and green apple flavors. The finish is the definition of refreshing; crisp, tart and lasting. For a wine with this much acidity I found it to be fuller of body and bright fruit flavors than expected. No doubt that the traditional pairing of oysters and seafood is right on for this one. For those looking for a new varietal to try this one will serve as an excellent (and affordable) introduction to Picpoul de Pinet.

Rating: Buy It

2004 Corbières Château La Boutignane “Grande Réserve”

Price: $9.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “This red offers a gorgeous nose of raspberry, cherry and blackberry. Full in the mouth with low acid and a long silky finish. Made with syrah and grenache, and by Burgundy phenom Vincent Sauvestre who, like the rest of us, just can’t seem to get enough of the South of France!”

What I Think:

The first from the two cases I recently picked up at K&L. These wines are always afflicted with high expectations because for whatever reason I label everything I buy there in the splurging category. Keep that in mind as these begin to hit the list. As much I as I would like to say I am unbiased I can’t swear to it.

This wine showed light to dark fruit on the nose depending on how much I swirled. In the mouth cherries seemed the most prevalent of the light fruit before quickly souring and turning almost a bit medicinal. Darker fruit pokes its head through on occasion but seems inconsistent. Silky on the finish? I think not; very minty/peppery/tannin (working on distinguishing between these) bordering on unpleasant. Hopefully tomorrow will be a better day…

Day 2, things did seem to round out. The light fruits seemed lighter, the darker fruits were a little more forward and the finish could no longer be described as unpleasant that being said there was still something to be desired as far as this wines length. Perhap price comes into play on this rating, at $7 I may have been willing to give it another go, below that a no brainer. But at this price I would certainly give something else a go.

Rating: Skip It

2005 Chapelle du Bois Viognier Vin de Pays d’Oc

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

What They Said:

Per quaffability “Here the nose is apples and peaches. The mouth is more apricoty like you expect, but also tastes like citric acid. Lots of peaches on the short finish. A little off-dry. Not bad, especially with spicy stir-fry.”

What I Think:

This wine interested me as I have been seeking out Viognier. I’ve had some from the US and Australia and this was the first from France. It is interesting to compare and contrast the styles by area. The US variety is a sweeter bunch and to date my favorite. The Aussies make ita little straight forward. While I enjoy it in their Shiraz I wasn’t thrilled about it on its own. As for France, this effort wasn’t bad, I’m not seeking it but if 11 bottles are in the cart this could be the 12th.

Rating: 12th Bottle