02 November, 2008

An Evening of Loire Valley Wines from the Kermit Lynch portfolio - Vive le diference

Finally, I found a chance to try some biodynamically- produced French wines from the Kermit Lynch portfolio. I attended a tasting at 18 Reasons in San Francisco (http://www.18reasons.com/) thanks to my friend P. who introduced me to this not-for-profit community organization associated with the Birite Market. The 18 Reasons space on Guerrero Street is used for tastings, dinners, and art shows with the purpose of bringing the community together through art and food, hence the wine-tasting. For a donation of $10 dollars we tried 5 wines and got to meet the French winemakers.

We started with two Chardonnays from Domaine de la Cadette (http://www.domainedelacadette.com/) which is located in the village of Vezelay, between the Cote D’Or and the Chablis regions. The affable winemaker, Jean Montanet, was there to answer our questions.

First on the list was the 2006 Bourgogne Blanc. This is a light lemony-colored wine with glints of gold. The nose displayed mineral notes of limestone and chalk. Lemon-lime on the palate with medium acidity and a medium citrusy finish… crisp and refreshing.
The 2006 Vezelay Blanc was a fruitier wine in a medium gold color, almost citrine-like. Hints of pear and stonefruit on the nose. This Chardonnay has the classic “oily” mouthfeel that I love. Both P. and I really liked this wine. It is a vibrant example of French Chardonnay.

Then it was on to the reds made by Catherine Breton of Domaine Breton. (http://www.domainebreton.com/). She brought 3 very different Cabernet Francs for us to enjoy. The Cab Franc is one of the major red varietals of the Loire Valley and each one of the following varietals originates from this grape.

The 2007 Dilettante Bourgeuil was an usually light red wine with the color of crushed red raspberries. The wine was cloudy as it is unfiltered. Honestly, this wine assaulted my nose with a strong sulphuric odor. I kept swirling and sniffing and got a little bit of fruit and spice underneath. Everything about this wine was too light except for the raw egg smell. As P. remarked “this wine doesn’t stand up” and I had to agree. For my “new world” palate it needed a few more “legs” (the alcohol content was 12%.)

The good news is that the next two wines were much better. The 2007 Trinch was a dry,fresh, earthy, garnet-colored gem. It was more complex than the Dilettante and had more layers to enjoy. We then shared an even darker 2004 Chinon Les Picasses. I loved the earthy, oaky, fennel notes which were embraced by the smooth tannins and balanced acidity. This was the only wine here that was aged in barriques. A very good wine from the perspective of my “new world palate”!

No, these are not chewy, tannic, heavy, sugary, oaky, fruit bombs. These are juicy yet subtle, fresh yet elegant wines that really challenged my notion of what makes a good wine. Try these wines and when you do enjoy them with cheese from the Loire Valley. At this tasting we tried the delectable Boucheron goat cheese. It tasted so good with each wine, and it made the Dilettante taste good.


Anonymous said...

Thank you Xandria for a very evocative description of the tasting. I could almost taste the wines again on my palate while reading your post. This tasting was a sensory education for me in many ways; with your excellent tips on savoring the wine helping me to identify the elements of flavor and aroma. Quite an experience!

Xandria said...

Yes, my wino friend, tasting wine can be a very sensual experience;)