What is currently in fashion, wine wise, is BIG, lavish, opulent, much more forward, red, bordering inkywines…..AND the media spends quite a bit of attention & copy in their publications accordingly. If you think about it, that’s what really sells copy, after all, which is the real intent.
Even when we do winetastings at VINO, it is the “Big Red” tastings which draw the most attention & therefore attendance.
Well, as much time as we may spend ooohing & awe-ing over the 96 pointers, we need to spend even more time finding & featuring well made, interesting, lighter, much more delicious, food friendly styles of wines. Here are 5.
Marcel Lapierre Raisins Gaulois
Marcel Lapierre was truly one of France’s iconic winemakers who changed the game. We were greatly saddened by his passing. Interestingly, Marcel’s wines were not really about fashion, but instead about using the old practices both in the vineyard & the winery. It was no surprise that he moved into organic & biodynamic practices & harvesting at the last possible moment. Still….he sought for his wines to be “devoured” & thereby looked for deliciousness in his wines, which surprised many, as his wines, at the same, got more & more interesting & provocative with bottle age. Being the leader of the “Gang of Four” , his Morgon (Cru Beaujolais) is what he won his awards & incredible acclaim, which resulted in a cult like following. His Raisins Gaulois bottling, however, is a style I believe he would serve at his dinner. Often produced from younger vine/declassified Morgon with some AOC Beaujolais blended in, this well priced, ‘country” styled red wine is all about deliciousness, food friendliness & gulpability!
2011 Savary Bourgogne “Epineuils”
Domaine Savary is an estate based out of Mailigny, between Paris & Dijon, just north of Chablis. They produce absolutely pure, riveting, mineral driven Chardonnay based white wines from Chablis, which are truly standout in their own way. When I was growing up in this industry, I knew other grape varieties, such as Sauvignon Blanc & Pinot Noir were also being grown in this northern Burgundian region, BUT nothing to really write home about. Many say, because of Global Warming we are now seeing more & more red wines from places that were too marginal in the past like this. This is Pinot Noir, light, lightly colored, wonderfully minerally & ethereal (because of the high percentage of Kimmeridgian limestone)….which is completely de-stemmed & then fermented in stainless steel.
2008 Kunstler Pinot Noir Trocken
Gunter Kunstler is one of Germany’s true masters of DRY wines, as is showcased in his epic, dry Rieslings from the town of Hochheim (Rheingau) & its highly revered Cru vineyards of Stielweg, Kirchenstuck, Holle & Domdechaney.
As monumental as his Rieslings are, his Pinot Noir is also gaining much notoriety as well. The 2008, for instance, comes from his Hochheim Reichestal vineyard, with its loose, sandy, loess soils. Since his vines are older now, the roots have gone down to the deep, sandy-marl below, which seems to add depth, extract & vinosity to his Pinot & its perfume. While this is not Cru Burgundy, it is a real pretty, lovely, interesting drink, which has a much wider window of opportunity for foods than most New World Pinot Noirs.
August Kesseler is also from Germany’s Rheingau region, but is based out of Assmannshausen, also doing some work in Lorch & Rudesheim. His 2008 Pinot Noir (called Spatburgunder in Germany) is very different from Kunstler’s (more underlying savory & meaty nuances), without compromising loveliness, deliciousness & superb refinement.
2008 Schnaitmann Lemberger
The Schnaitmann Lemberger is yet another delicious, lighter bodied red wine out of Germany, BUT, this time out of Wurttemberg. Lemberger is the grape variety (which is also referred to as Frankich in Austria). Schnaitmann really came on the radar screen after having won the European Pinot Cup 2 years in a row & having been selected as 2007 “Newcomer of The Year” by Gault Millau. While this 2008 has a real deliciousness, it seems more masculine than most Pinots with darker fruit character & exotic spice, earth & forest floor nuances.