Wine, like most of our lifestyle choices, is greatly influenced by what’s currently in fashion. In this case, we are undoubtedly speaking of BIG, opulent, loud, demonstrative, impact wines, done with a bigger the better mentality. A 100 points says it all. Well, that is not what this specific tasting is about…..at all. In fact, one could say, the exact opposite. The wines for this tasting, celebrate finesse, intricacy, nuance, balance & most of all purity. From all of the wines from around the world, we have settled on 4 of our absolute favorites from this category. FOUR. I suggest this is a golden learning opportunity about the “other” side. Be cautious. Once you start tasting these kinds of wines, it is hard to go back to “lumberjack city”.
2014 Quenard Gamay Noir “Chignin”–a wonderfully delicious, pretty, naked red wine grown on steep, rocky, hand built terraces high in the foothills of the French Alps. 100% Gamay Noir, supposedly the same grape variety that is used to produce Beaujolais red wines, but because the vineyard’s aspect is steeper & at higher altitudes with limestone scree soils, this results in a somewhat differently nuanced wine without compromising the extreme deliciousness normally associated with this grape variety. I think of this wine as being lighter, more airy in weight too with a very different kind of pretty perfume.
“The Savoie is a picture of fairy-tale perfection: snow-capped peaks, green rolling hills, wildflowers, and cold, sparkling mountain streams. This idyllic region hugs the western Alps, where Michel Quenard farms twenty-two hectares of vineyards along the steep, terraced slopes of the Coteau de Torméry around Chignin. The limestone scree that dominates this vineyard land has brought great diversity to the soils, and consequently, the wines. His cuvées go beyond the simple “eclectic” that categorizes wines from the region; whether they are quaffed or savored, they are all unique revelations that reflect the complexity of their terroir and the fine artistry of this master vigneron”. Kermit Lynch
2014 Hans Wirsching Scheurebe Kabinett Dry “Iphofer”–such breathtaking purity done with finesse, intricacy & sophistication. In the old days, because Riesling would normally ripen only 2 or 3 vintages out of 10, German scientists searched & experimented with different crosses that would offer Riesling nobility, BUT ripen earlier. Scheurebe was one of the more successful. Now, however, that Riesling essentially ripens almost every vintage, the need/demand for Scheurebe seems to be dwindling. Having said that, THIS to me is the finest Scheurebe I have yet to have. I love its sublime, wonderfully nuanced perfume & minerality AND how remarkably light & airy it is on the palate! WOW!
“Now in its 14th generation, the Wirsching family has been making wine since the 1630’s! This mild climate and the long growing season allow the vines to absorb the minerals contained in the gypsum keuper soil and allows for a long ripening season”.
2014 Manni Nössing Muller Thurgau “Sass Rigais”–an absolutely riveting, wonderfully transparent, minerally standout grown high up in the Dolomites. The Muller Thurgau grape variety is another example of a Riesling cross that became quite popular in Germany, PRE-the string of warm vintages. While I would candidly say that Paul Furst of Franconia produces the top example of what this grape variety is capable of, I would also add this bottling as a close second. I just love its absolute purity & amazing precision.
“Manni Nössing runs his small winery amid the towering peaks of the Dolomites. His vineyards benefit from the mountain climate and steep slopes of glacial deposit that make up the Valle Isarco, the narrow valley to the northeast of Bolzano that is known for its fresh, aromatic whites“. Kermit Lynch
2013 Brégeon “Gorges”–The ideal way to end such a tasting! a VERY intriguing, minerally white, aged for 18 to 24 months on its lees in underground glass cuves. First of all, yes, these vines grow on a very unique soil in a very unique climate & that is the real core of what makes this wine so individualistic. To that, I would also say that the Brégeons add their touch to making it that much more memorable–wild yeast fermented & then aging the wine in subterranean glass line cuves for 18 to 24 months on its lees. Yes, complexity & mouthfeel in a very different & VERY patient way, without taking away from the wine’s innate, delicate purity.
“Brégeon is part renegade, part crusader, and full-blown terroirist. Over the years, he has become an ardent defender of the Muscadet-Sèvre-et-Maine terroir, the most highly regarded of the four appellations in the Pays Nantais. Thanks to his deep understanding of the nuances of the land, he plays the game much differently than the region’s caves cooperatives and negociants, who produce en masse and lose the subtlety of the appellation. For seven years, he worked for his family’s domaine before setting out on his own in 1975. When his father retired in 1989, he gave his remaining vineyard land to Michel. Today, Michel farms seven hectares of vineyards in clay, silica, and gabbro soils. Gabbro is old, blue-green, volcanic rock, rarely found in vineyard land. Formed by magma eruptions under the ocean floor”. Kermit Lynch