Tasting Wines–out of the box

My list of wines that we buy seems to be getting smaller as time goes on.  Every once in a while we stumble on something interesting that captures a unique moment on the wine journey. Here are four which recently came on to our radar screen and are really worth checking out, keeping in mind, each is totally out of most people’s comfort zone. 

2013 Quenard Mondeuse “Arbin”–Most people would not be familiar with the Mondeuse grape variety and probably not the wines of the mountainous Savoie region of the foothills of the French Alps. While many I have tasted over the years are more of a novelty and easily forgettable, I would say, this is one you should try at least once, just to get a feel and understanding of what is possible on these rocky, impressively steep, terraced vineyards. Who would work this hard nurturing and harvesting these fifty to sixty year old vines at such a dramatic slant in such a fierce climate? Here is your chance to taste why.

2015 Manni Nössing Kerner–Here is yet another one of those really committed to a vision.   They deal with the “hard work” associated with the dramatic rocky vines at a 2500 foot elevation, along with the frequently swinging climatic conditions. They produce THIS wine from a Germanic grape variety, the Kerner grape, a cross between Riesling and a red grape named Schiava. Manni’s wines have such incredible purity, precision and wonderful class, really unlike anyone else’s and we are so thankful for every bottle we can get.

2104 Jean-Philippe Fichet Bourgogne Aligoté–Here was a chance to taste a stellar example of the “other” white grape variety of Burgundy—Aligoté. Tnis one with slight age, in fact just enough to transition from the youthful energy, exuberance and edges to something worth more than just one glance. As a reminder, Jean-Philippe Fichet is certainly one of the stars of the Meursault appellation and this was an opportunity to sample his craftsmanship.

2005 Gioielli “Rappu”–I have been wishing and hoping to go Corsica for over thirty years. One of the old time vignerons I was hoping to visit was Michel Angeli at Gioielli. “After World War II, Angeli left his home town of Bastia and relocated in the very remote and wild countryside of the Cap Corse of northern Corisca where he planted and personally grew indigenous vines such as Vermentinu, Codivarta (from neighbors), Niellucciu (from Patrimonio) and Aleatico (from the island of Elba), for six decades”. I was really sad to hear of his passing last year, before I had a chance to visit. Michel was truly one of the most interesting characters of the wine world. We were fortunate to get some of his Vermentinu white on two occasions and relished every bottle. They were truly wines of the countryside, done in a personal, timeless style. Interestingly he also made tiny amounts of a unique wine once in a while named Rappu–“produced from fifty year old Aleatico vines, which were partially dried and left to ferment on its own until it stopped, normally with some sweetness and 16% alcohol, which he then aged for seven years in old oak. This is that wine–passionately & unscientifically made–totally out of the box and well worth trying.

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