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

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 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 Blason Cabernet Franc

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. Generally I write about the easier-to-sell wines before the more difficult-to-figure-out. This time, I have to write about the 2005 Blason Cabernet Franc. This one is so good you won’t believe it! The flavor just bursts out of the glass, spice laden, black pepper, red fruits, vivacious, fresh and curvy all at the same time, and at an unbelievable price. Please try this wine if you haven’t or even if you have had Italian Cabernet Franc. (Greg St.Clair, K&L Italian buyer)”

What I Think:

I grabbed this one when my wife told me we were having hamburgers for dinner but by the time I got to the table the plans had changed. Not sure that it mattered…This wine was funky! On the nose the earthy, barnyard aromas seemed fairly typical but that is about where it ended. The wine seemed hot on the tongue and had a tart sour finish. Perhaps I need some food after all I thought. Not much difference. Still sour in the mouth, let me try and cleanse my palate to ensure the Amaicha Torrontes wasn’t throwing things askew.

Is it tart? Hot? Musty? Where is that wine aroma wheel. Unfortunately there is nothing pleasant resonating here. Chemical? Microbiological? Not even vegetal. It is bad but what is it? Nary a hint of fruit here. Headed towards the worst in a while. I’m even thinking I may dump the rest. I resisted and a few days later it started to show some fruit. Glad I didn’t dump it as it improved. That said it only made it to so/so by the end.

Rating: Skip It

2004 Vin de Pays des Bouches du Rhône Marselan Domaine l’Attilon

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Marselan, a cross between Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, is a new grape variety being developed in the Aude and Bouches du Rhone areas of southern France. Vinified for the first time in 2002, Marselan has quickly become a darling of many French wine professionals and consumers. Domaine l’Attilon’s organic version of this new cepage is bursting with bright, crunchy black currant and cherry fruit balanced by violet floramatics and a vibrant acidity. This deliciously user friendly red is a wine you can feel good about on all levels, as it delivers delicious enjoyment at a fantastic price! Another terrific value from the South of France!”

They also said this in the May 2007 newsletter, “A dichotomy on the palate. Initially you get the levity and light temper of the grenache followed by the stern gravity of the cabernet. Overall this marriage is pleasing. Pronounced violets on the nose next to a mouthful of lively and snappy fruit with fresh, deep black currant flavors. There is nothing gushy or goopy about this wine. It’s got a strong acidic presence that mingles with dusty tannins. Enjoy this “little big guy” with bistro fare.”

What I Think:

A new grape, as usual, right up my alley. Anything to keep it interesting. As mentioned above this grape is a cross between cab and grenache mix. I had this one a few weeks back with steak while my wife was out of town. I sampled this side by side with the recently posted Guigal. My notes for this were more plentiful than for the other. Does that a winner make?

On the nose you were greeted with aromas that tended towards barnyard and dust. On the palate the fruit was subtle. Overall I would say the wine has sturdy flavors and dry overtones. The finish was a bit on the tart side. Given the uniqueness factor perhaps this wine may have seemed more compelling than it otherwise could have been. I am guessing the second bottle I have will tell the story. For now I will remain on the fence.

Rating: Pricey

2005 Blason Pinot Grigio

Price: $8.99 @ K&L Wines imported by Premier Wine Company

What They Said:

Per K&L Wines “Giovanni Blason and his consulting enologist Andrea Rossi have turned this 37-acre property into a juggernaut of affordable quality wines. Giovanni and his wife Valentina own this winery in Gradisca d’Inzonzo, 3.75 miles from the Slovenian border and about 20 miles north of Trieste. The 2005 Blason Pinot Grigio is the best Pinot Grigio Giovanni and Andrea have made to this day. The vines are maturing, and the addition of the temperature-controlled fermentation has added a level of spice to the already wonderful fruit, with body, freshness, balance, and well… it’s just damned refreshing. Last vintage we sold our 200-case allotment in 10 weeks. This year we’ve ordered 400 cases, but with the addition of our new Hollywood location this wine won’t last long. Buy now!”

They also said this in the May 2007 newsletter,”One of our BEST VALUE wines at K&L! Simply sensational! Perfect balance of acidity and is very aromatic, loaded with pear, apple, citrus and tropical fruit in an elegant, concentrated and superbly balanced wine. This is a perfect wine to serve for Mothers’ Day.”

What I Think:

After seeing this wine pimped at me from so many different angles I had to give it a try. So when I concocted a clam sauce pasta (my first) I thought I would give it a go. White wine with white sauce seemed like a good idea. On opening this the nose seemed racy. There were hints of fruit but it was clear this wine was going to have a zing to it. On the palate there were nice citrusy notes that quickly gave way to a tight-knit acidic backbone. The wine was very light and it was most certainly crisp and refreshing. I could have imagined drinking this on a sunny patio with a burger or something of the sort. This pairing was not made in heaven. In hindsight, checking my favorite pairing site an Arneis would have been a better call. Darn, should have checked ahead of time as I have been wanting to try one of those!

On a side note, in a recent post I was lamenting my ability to pick good wines over at The Wine Club. Given that I figured I would check on how I was doing over at K&L. I bought a couple cases back in May and have so far had 7 of the 24. Three of the four reds have been a hit while only one of the whites has delivered. Much better ratios here, especially with the reds. When I buy at K&L it is usually from reading their new arrivals email or newsletter. Then I order online and pick it up in the store. Seems to work better. Not sure why I care, sometimes I like doing analysis for the sake of doing analysis.

Back to this wine, it is a good effort. I didn’t find it nearly as riveting as the folks over at K&L seemed to. I find myself likening it to the Kono Sauvignon Blanc which I would certainly prefer to this. Given that I can get that one a few bucks cheaper, I’ll be sticking to that. That said if you love Italian Pinot Grigio feel free to give this one a go.

Rating: Skip It