Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl Sec from Château Viella – and a perfect pairing It had been been a long time since we’d been able to bring in one of the great white wines of the Southwest of France. We missed them, but Alain Bortolussi at Château Viella finally had enough for us to bring in a small amount of his dry, (say it with me now), Pacherenc du Vic-Bihl. If you’ve never experienced wine like this, it’s a revelation. The most important indigenous white grapes of the Southwest in appellations such as Pacherenc, Irouleguy, and Jurançon include Gros Manseng, Arrufiat, and Petit Manseng, all grown to varying degrees depending on local preferences. They are a “Basque” tradition.
I’d just completed a two-hour drive from Orly (with a stick shift, mind you — that vehicle would never be the same) after an eight-hour flight from Philadelphia — my first trip to France. I was beat, but as I pulled up to the front gate at Philippe Poniatowski’s Clos Baudoin, and stepped out of the car, I was struck by the familiarity of the place. I’d opened hundreds bottles that grew on this estate, and had drunk quite a few myself. A deep breath was all it took to recognize the“Clos,” even though I’d never been there. Philippe (now, deceased), was in his 70s at the time, and I was a young “know-it-all” back then, but he did all he could to guide me to an understanding of wine in the “Old World.” He was patient with me — no simple task in those days…some might argue that hasn’t changed…but I digress. On the map above, you see many places carefully mapped out that show the boundaries between one wine region and another. The concept of wine as having a distinct, geographic
Treating esca, organically, Here's Greg Moore and Peter Fischer of Château Revelette discussing the importance of organic farming in winegrowing. It's a good thing to let some weeds and wildflowers to grow among your vines - this attracts other life to the vineyards, helping to maintain balance. It's also a good idea to cut these weeds and flowers so that they can return natural nutrients to the soil.
Wil Franklin is a Moore Brothers alum, with the reputation as the finest producer in Humboldt County, California. He has given us permission to republish his pieces from The Courtier. One of the most perplexing characteristics of wine is “sweet vs. dry”. I have often heard friends say they don’t drink white wine because it’s too sweet, yet they like late harvest red Zinfandel that is sweet. Others tell me they don’t like red wine because it’s too dry, but then turn around and drink an even drier white wine. What’s at the root of these perplexing contradictions that keep some people from even considering half of all wines? Clearly the words dry and sweet mean different things to different people. To make all this more understandable, I’ll put on my winemaker’s hat and explain the actual, technical meanings behind the terms. First, dry does not mean the puckering sensation felt in the mouth when quaffing a high acid white wine – that’s tartness. Second, dry is not the tactile, chalk
The sun had just set. Fireflies coming out. The nightime shadows not quite overtaking the view. Evening in San Pancrazio, staying at the Corzano e Paterno agriturismo.The sheep are still speaking to one another in the fields. My wife's arms around me. Life is good. If you’re heading to Tuscany, stay here. Fall in love again. - DM
The free wine preservation kit Yessiree bob! Your own FREE WINE PRESERVATION KIT right here! No kidding. After all these years, these empty (and resealable) glass bottles are the best way I've found to preserve wine. Ideally, you want to fill them to the brim before sealing, and I recommend you slap a quick label on, so you know what you've got in the fridge. The glass, resealable 10oz. club soda bottles are particularly helpful (we'll probably see a spike in sales at Wegman’s:), but I've used all manner, including empty Orangina bottles. I also get the empty green bottles with corks at places like Sur la Table, but I'd bet they're somewhere on amazon (what isn’t available there). These will keep your wine fresh (in the fridge – for a week or so), and beat anything else, including expensive “inert gas” kits and Vacu-Vins (which pull out more than just oxygen). Just fill 'em to the brim and seal them up. Best of all, they're free to use over and over. -DM
I've got to hand it to my brother, Greg. He's very brave allowing his daughter Kate to film him as he drives a tractor for the first time. Jochen Ratzenberger Sr. was plowing a new vineyard site in Bacharach, and invited Greg to take the tractor home. Fortunately all have a good sense of humor…
Xavier Vignon Minerality is a “hot topic” in wine these days, but not many people involved in the discussion are as well grounded in the “facts,” as Xavier Vignon - one of the southern Rhône's most important oenologists. As a consultant to over three hundred producers in and around Châteauneuf-du-Pape, he's had a hand in hundreds of “90+ point-wines" from the area. Xavier's work as a physical chemist, geologist, agronomist, and oenologist, has given him an expert view on what drives “minerality” in wine, and how it works. His lab runs millions of samples on wine every year, measuring mineral content down to parts per million, where, as he says, “it's where the magic is.” This is over eight minutes, but well worth it, if you'd like to understand what “minerality” is all about.