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

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 Laurent Reverdy Sancerre

2009 Laurent Reverdy SancerrePrice: $9.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Latitude Wines

What They Said:

De nada which comes as no surprise given the importer here, Latitude wines, only handles import and logistics for Trader Joe’s. Given that I would love to hear the story of how this one ended up on the shelves of my local store. Does Trader Joe’s send buyers to France to scout out these bargain offerings? If so I clearly have the wrong job…

What I Think:

When something comes recommended from Angela you have to try it (the Trader Joe’s Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir is on deck). Given the conversations we have had over the last years I could count the palates I trust more on one hand. So when she gave the word I headed straight out to scoop up a bottle of this one. What did I find?

Mineral, fresh grass and loads of lemon on the nose. You get more of the same on the palate where you find mild white pepper overtones as well. Slight pucker emerges but quickly fades into a tangy, balanced finish. I haven’t had much Sauvignon Blanc from France but this finish surprised me. The acidity on this one was not overpowering which is different from what I generally see in the new world offerings (which I typically drink) from New Zealand or Chile. This made it come across as somewhat “refined” and makes it quite food friendly. At $10 this wine, while straightforward, is very well made and delivers a fair quality to price ratio. If you are a fan of or interested in Sancerre (or are interested in a mellower version of Sauvignon Blanc) this one is certainly worth a try…

Rating: Pricey

What did others think about the Laurent Reverdy Sancerre? Here’s Jeff’s thoughts from over at Viva La Wino

2007 Chateau des Cleons Muscadet Sevre et Maine “Sur Lie”

Price: $5.99 @ Trader Joe’s imported by Plume Ridge Wine Negotiants

What They Said:

Per FrenchWineGift.com, on the ’06, “Château des Cléons is located in the Loire Valley, close to the city of Nantes and the Atlantic Ocean. It is a dry white wine made of 100% Melon de Bourgogne. As its name implies, this is a variety which was imported (expelled might be a better term) from the vineyard of Burgundy. Most Muscadet is sold as Muscadet de Sèvres et Maine. It is produced on the gently hilly banks of the Sèvres and Maine rivers, two tributaries of the Loire. Château des Cléons is a Muscadet sur Lie, meaning that the wine is matured on the lees, and bottled straight from the barrel.

Château des Cléons has a light yellow color with green nuances. It has a subtle and complex nose with citrus aromas. In the mouth it is aromatic and intense with a long finish. Enjoy it with fish, seafood or on its own. It should be drunk young.”

What I Think:

Always willing to give a new varietal a try I grabbed this one off the shelf. Half the fun of these bottles is learning more about the grape. Melon de Bourgogne is so associated with this popular appellation of the western Loire that the grape itself is often known as Muscadet. As mentioned above this grape originated in Burgundy where it was found to be a nuisance and thus ordered destroyed. This led to its reappearance in the Muscadet. Other items of interest include this wine being made by the Lacheteau family. This is of note because I have seen bottlings at Trader Joe’s bearing this name. Also “Sur Lie” means aged on the skins.

Now as for the wine itself, I think we have a winner. A week or so before having this one I had a similar offering from K&L Wines. This one compared very well. To describe it in a nutshell it was light, surprisingly crisp and refreshing. A nice dry, tart beginning gives way to a nice long lemon, citrusy finish. This is a perfect bottle for a summer picnic or barbecue. Another great Trader Joe’s wine find!

Rating: Buy It

2004 Tessier Cour Cheverny “La Porte Doree”

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

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “This is from very old vines, 60-85 years of age, to be exact, and these aren’t your average white grape vines, either. This wine is made from the rare Romorantin grape, grown on heavy clay soils. The wine is fermented in three to five-year old Burgundy barrels and undergoes partial malo-lactic fermentation, which lends a very rich, almost viscous mouthfeel to an otherwise extremely mineral white. You can taste this beautiful, esoteric white for days after you’ve enjoyed a glass. Wow! Philippe Tessier has just converted the domaine to totally organic viticulture, too.”

What I Think:

This wine, from the Loire value caught my eye in the K&L newsletter based on the description above. After that I did a little research and found the following: Romorantin is a traditional French variety of white wine grape, that is a sibling of Chardonnay. Once quite widely grown in the Loire, it has now only seen in the Cour-Cheverny AOC. It produces intense, minerally wines somewhat reminiscent of Chablis. I found elsewhere that Cour-Cheverny has a total of 11 wineries that call it home. Love to find these types of bottles.

Now on to the wine which we served it with Mediterranean style fish. Interesting I find a golden brown coloring, not the straw or yellow you may expect. Also interesting as the texture on the tongue is that of a dessert wine but the taste is something altogether different. Here you find almost zero sweetness. The nose shows mostly mineral leaving the texture to come as an even larger surprise. You get citrus notes to accompany this on the palate before a finish advertised as long that I found somewhat disappointing based on all the hype. At the end of the day this wine was extremely interesting but I didn’t dig it. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t but either way I guarantee you’ll have an interesting experience. The kind you only need once.

Rating: Pricey

2005 Frédéric Mabileau St.-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Les Rouillères

Price: $13.99 @ K&L Wines imported by USA Wine Imports

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “90 points Wine Spectator: “Solid, with lots of gutsy briar, black olive, black currant and tobacco flavors that pump through the finish, which puts it all together. Drink now through 2008. 3,000 cases made.” (12/06)

What I Think:

My third Cabernet Franc of late, doing a pseudo-tour through different countries ala the Malbec adventure previously. California whipped Italy and was now ready to square off with France. France was coming in with some big credentials. 90 points from the Wine Spectator and a nice review in the San Francisco Chronicle.

On my end this wine was nice. The nose showed some fruit. On the palate there were metallic hints overlaid with tobacco-ish flavors on a well balanced frame. The end was pleasant but short. A fine effort but there wasn’t much to set it apart from the norm. The Santa Ynez Valley Cabernet Franc was a clear winner at half the price.

Rating: Pricey