Saturday, December 08, 2007

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Marcus and Joe decided to get together again (previous) for a Friday evening tasting, this time at my place. After some lengthy discussion we finally came up with a theme – Southern France vs. Spanish whites. Perfect – my tasting group hates doing whites!

The idea was great, but the execution was a bit more challenging given the weak local selection. In the end we succeeded in putting together a great flight: a Rueda, a Rioja, a Jurancon Sec, a Cotes du Rousillon, and even a Vin de Pays du Gard.

To pair with our later evening event I served a selection of cheeses from the south of France (Tomme de Chevre des Pyrenees, Petit Basque des Pyrenees) and Spain (Manchengo), and other light snacks. Truly a diverse set of wines and flavours!

For blinding, we opted against the paper bag trick, as the different-coloured and different-shaped bottles would be a dead giveaway. Instead my wife poured the wines into chilled decanters and we kept them cool on a tray of ice! (see photo below - remind you of anything, Edward?)

The decanter on the left held the 2005 Domaine Mourgues du Gres "Terre d'Argence" Vin de Pays du Gard, a blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. A new appellation for me, this wine was reminiscent of the white Hermitage I had recently. Yellow gold in the glass, the nose showed lavender, lemon, apple and toast. A touch thin on the palate, but as it warmed it showed a nice, rich apple flavour. Good acidity, but a bit hot. Very Rhone-like, and a nice effort.
cork. 14.5% alcohol
Score: 16/20
Price: $23.10 (SAQ)

The next decanter held a 2003 Chateau les Pins Cotes du Roussillon. Corked, unfortunately, as there were some neat aromas hiding underneath - cooked pears, flowers - and some almonds on the palate.

For both Marcus and I (and my wife who joined us later) the clear favourite was the 2005 Palacios Remondo Placet, a white Rioja wine made from the local Viura grape and reviewed here earlier this year. A pale white gold in the glass - the palest of the bunch - I thought it might be the Rueda by the colour. Very interesting on the nose – citrusy (limes), minerally, and floral – gorgeous. Elegant, rich and luscious, with a nice long bitter finish. Sometimes a great wine comes together so well that you can’t use words to describe why you like it so much – the Placet is one of those. Marcus and I just bought up the last bottles on the island (sorry).
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 18/20
Price: $24.75 (SAQ)

The next decanter held the 2004 Domaine Cauhape "Seve D'Automne", a wine from the Jurançon sec appellation (made from the Gros Manseng grape) and tasted in my Southwest France review. Deep yellow gold in the glass, it showed green melon, banana, honey and pineapple on the nose. The tropical theme continued on the palate - papaya and melon, with a nice bitter and minerally finish. Once again, the whopping alcohol was not overly apparent. Flavourful and elegant, but an extrovert amongst a more reserved peer group. Note: the priciest wine of the evening.
cork. 15% alcohol
Score: 17.5/20
Price: $28.05 (SAQ)

The decanter on the right held a 2005 Bodegas Aura, a Verdejo from the Spanish Rueda appellation. This golden wine was rather simple - apples and lemon rind on the nose, some minerals. On the palate is was thin and light, lemony and minerally, with a nice crisp aftertaste. Kinda Pinot Griggio-ish, this was a terrific white quaffer - uncomplex, but fun. And the best price of the evening...
cork. 13.5% alcohol
Score: 15/20
Price: $18.70 (SAQ)

Overall, the wines paired very well with the regionally-inspired munchies. I was probably most taken by the Spanish wines, with the crisp Rueda reminding me of a time when my patio was not covered in a foot of snow. Cheers, and many thanks to Marcus for once again donating his liver!


Marcus said...

This photo looks a lot like my street this morning as the snow was finally removed from it. Bottles were never picked up from this week's recycling day. (Your photo is a bit more picturesque though.)

Looking forward to your full post.

Brooklynguy said...

southwest (i hope) or just south. no more suspense, c'mon - OUT WITH IT. what did you guys taste?!?

Joe said...

Done! Thanks for coming by Marcus, a great effort. The snow is great for picture taking, but not much else...
Hi Neil - as you can see from the photo it was one SW France, two South and the rest Spanish. It is a good thing you keep hounding me or I would never get anything done!

Edward said...

I'm impressed you could work out what was in each decanter, they look identical too me - like vials of wee wee, since you asked :) !!

Sounds like a fun tasting.

Joe said...

Hi Edward - my wife raided the kids' sticker book for the "code", so Marcus and I were blinded. Technically I was semi-blinded, as I had tasted two of the wines before, while Marcus had never had any of these before. So, are those vials the "BEFORE", or the "AFTER"...?

Edward said...

I'm trying hard not to think about what you just said (and trying not to decide which is yours and which could belong to Marcus)

I just hope you gave the decanters a good wash out :)

Joe said...

Hi Edward. I have a little more age on me, so I would look for the darker, Amber hue...If you ever visit, make sure I do NOT decant the wine...