2014 is going to be such an amazing year! As many of you know I had a daughter, Margaux, last summer so everyday is a new adventure for me. All these unique and exciting experiences happening to me made me think this was a perfect time to introduce some extremely rare and unusual wines that we carry. It’s a new year; bust out of the norm and try something different!
On many occasions, I have written about the Sauvignon Blanc of Northern France, with its stony minerality and floral bouquet, but I’ve never really talked of its red Pinot Noir counterpart. Going by the same name, Red Sancerres are light bodied with driven minerality and pronounced sour cherry and red currant. They are terrific for grilled salmon, goat cheese, and cold summer soups. I recommend Les Romains Gitton. It’s floral and sleek, with a tart pop of cherry.
Ruche di Castagnole Monferrato
Just a baby in the D.O.C. world (earning its designation in 1987), Ruche is a Piemontese grape that takes a delicate hand to grow but has an intense and unique flavor. This grape is known to be mysterious; it’s not clear whether it’s indigenous to Italy or actually from France. Recently, I brought in Luca Ferraris Ruchè di Castagnole Monferrato. Though most Ruchè is reminiscent of Nebbiolo, having medium-to-high tannin and acidity with cherry notes, this particular one had aromas of black flowers and bushels of blueberry on the palate. This wine screams to be paired with roast pork jabbed with garlic that oozes after a long day in the oven. Duck breast with a concentrated sauce and an herb-coated starchy side would work too. Okay, now I’m hungry. Hey, Chef Pete…
As blue as a blueberry on the vine and otherwise known as Lemberger, Blaufränkish has had a bit of a tripped-up start. When it was initially imported, it was under-ripe, young, tart and light bodied. But when left in good hands and allowed to ripen to full maturity, it can become a great, easy-drinking red, with Italian black plum, dark cherry and spice. This is the case with Winzerkeller Andau’s. This wine transports me four months into the future where I can put a little chill on it and take it to the park for a cookout. If you like medium-bodied red blends from California, pick up this little Austrian charm next time you’re in!
Bugey is a tiny French region of only 420 acres where winemakers can produce red, white, and rosé. But it’s the bubbly rosé I want to talk about. Called Cerdon, this wine is as pretty as a Disney princess and just as sweet. If Cinderella had bubbly at her wedding I think she’d pour this. Domaine Renardat-Fâche Cerdon has strawberry, red raspberry and floral notes, with balanced minerality and acidity. The alcohol is low, 6 to 8 percent, so you can dance all night without worrying about woodland creatures having to carry you home!
I hope you step out of your comfort zone and try some of these wonderful wines!