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New Customers Save $30* with code SEPTNEW30
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Michel Gassier Costieres de Nimes Nostre Pais White 2010
90% Grenache Blanc, 5% Roussanne, 5% Viognier
The 2010 Nostre Pais Blanc is a blend of 80% Grenache blanc and the rest equal parts Roussanne and Viognier, aged on its lees for six months, with some barrel fermentation but limited exposure to oak. It comes across as a top-flight white Chateauneuf du Pape rather than a less expensive Costieres de Nimes. Light gold in color, with an extraordinary nose of vivid honeysuckle, candle wax, marmalade and tropical fruit, the wine is elegant, has good acidity, and wonderful freshness, but a surprisingly intense, full-bodied mouthfeel. Following a tasting, I had this wine with Maryland soft shell crabs, and it was an exquisite marriage. Drink it over the next year.
This starts plump, displaying a salted butter and creamed melon profile, but picks up mouthwatering yellow apple and verbena notes along the way for freshness and length. Very tasty. Drink now through 2013. 3,000 cases imported.
With a distinctly Mediterranean climate featuring warm days and cool nights, the Lodi AVA in California’s Central Valley provides growers with ideal conditions for grape-growing. As most of the rain falls in winter months while vines are dormant, the risk of disease and pest problems is low and irrigation can make up for the dry conditions during harvest.
By a wide margin, Zinfandel is the most successful and widely planted variety in Lodi. Often made from old vines, these wines are robust and fleshy with ripe, plummy fruit and represent excellent value at the lower end of the price spectrum. Over 100 other varieties are grown here, ranging from the classic (Merlot, Chardonnay) to the obscure and experimental (Portugal’s Touriga Nacional, France's Picqpoul).
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it’s grown and how it’s made. In Burgundy, Chardonnay produces some of the finest white wines in the world, typically tending towards minimal intervention in the winery and at its best resulting in remarkable longevity. This grape is popular throughout the world, but perhaps its second most important home is in California, where both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines enjoy great popularity. Oregon, Australia, South America, South Africa, and New Zealand are also significant producers of Chardonnay.
In the Glass
When planted on cool sites, Chardonnay’s flavors tend towards grapefruit, green apple, minerals, and white stone fruit, while warmer locations coax out richer, more tropical flavors of fig, melon, and pineapple. Oak can add notes of vanilla, coconut, and spice (as well as texture), while malolactic fermentation can impart soft, buttery acidity.
Chardonnay is as versatile at the table as it is in the vineyard. The crisp, clean, Chablis-like styles go well with simple seafood, light chicken dishes, and salads. Richer Chardonnays marry well with cream or oil-based sauces.
Since the 1990s, big, oaky, buttery Chardonnays from California have enjoyed explosive popularity. More recently, the pendulum has begun to swing in the opposite direction, towards a clean, crisp style that rarely utilizes new oak. These Old-World style wines have been dubbed the “New California Chardonnays,” and anyone who claims they do not like Chardonnay should give them a try.