“No phone, a movie, a glass of wine, and some salad. Perfect!” …. Kate Moss
In this “No rest for the
environment (Strike “the” and “wicked” and replace with “anyone”) due to cell
phones tracking us all and ringing with myriad solicitations. And with our
concern for carbohydrates and waist lines, the salad and wine seem like a good
idea. But having a cold, I skipped going
to the movies and made soup at home instead of making the salad. The cold wasn’t that bad. And the making of soup was mostly a
preemptive measure on my part before the cold could take hold, so I didn’t
skip enjoying a glass.
That glass has since become a few bottles bought and with more on order. The wine is that good. And that is surprising (at least for me). I’ve long been a fan of wine from the Cotes du Rhone. But saying “Cote du Rhone”,in practicality, is synonymous with Grenache, some Syrah and maybe Mourvedre, i.e. red wine. It’s not that I’m a red wine guy. I like it red. I like it white. I like it rose. I like it orange, still and sparkling. But tastes being what they are and always personal – I have found Grenache Blanc to be somewhat dull. Bordering on boring. And there are so many options in this delicious global marketplace.
Now along comes “Artesis” as I am now full of years; a gift of good taste from Antoine Ogier and blended with value. The winery is located in Chateauneuf-du-Pape in the Southern Rhone. Antoine Ogier is identified (on the back label of this bottle) as “Negociant-Eleveur.” (A Négociant is one who buys juice but matures, blends and refines it into wine: Eleveur). Ogier has been a Négociant since 1859. In 1948, the company bought its own cellars (making it Eleveur) and in 2000 expanded into estate grown wines.
The maxim that guides Ogier in making wine is “Remain close to the source in order to better understand the constraints, but also harness its potential.” Being skeptic as I am, I always confine my impression to what is inside the bottle. What was inside this bottle, was immediately impressive.
Seductive. Romantic. Spring love. Flowers in bloom. Poetry. And Wallenda-like balance.
Perhaps that’s because Grenache Blanc is only 30%. Clairette (assuming “Blanche”: specific sub-variety not identified) contributes aromas and acidity. 20% comes from blending Bourboulenc (like Clairette, but a finer grape lending crispness). Another 10% is obtained from the classic blending marriage of both Roussanne and Marsanne with Roussanne (one of two “white” grapes allowed in the blending of Chateauneuf-du-Pape) adding aromatics and Marsanne balancing the acidity of that marriage and lending body, color and also its own aromatics. Did someone say aromatics? The last 10% is Viognier, so well respected for its floral lift, and contribution of apricot and peach while its low acidity makes for a good counter point against the other grapes.
Then again, it’s not just the grapes but how they’re joined in the bottle. Should you try this wine (you should), pour two glasses, or drink one slowly and allow the wine to warm. Certainly, serve it chilled. But allow that other glass, or some of your one glass, to warm; the wine will develop both aromatics and flavor as it warms. On the nose, orange blossom (others get acacia), sweetened pastry dough – very fine, apricot, a scent of almond, lemon peel (Wine Enthusiast gets gooseberry – like taste, it’s all personal), pear and a gentle whisper of honey. The wine is crisp and dry (don’t let the reference to honey lead you astray). If you actually tasted white flowers (I have in salads), it’s there and in a mouthfeel surprisingly rich in volume for such a crisp wine. Zesty with lemon peel balancing the weight of apricot, cleansing acidity opposing lychee and a whisper of banana, this wine is indeed complex. A hint of white peach? Tasting again and as the wine became warmer: a very mild hint of Mint/Eucalyptus on the palate. I swished the last around to be sure. The herbaceous/vegetative note was confirmed. Complex? You bet!
If all that going on inside your nose and mouth is not enough, add in that the acidity and citrus in the finish keeps reminding the palate of its experience for a long, long time. This is wine magic, certainly when you consider that the ARP for this wine is $12.
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TECH SPECS & ETCETERA:
Certified Organic Farming
Soil is sand and pebble on chalk with sandstone subsoil.
Destemming and fermentation at average temperatures to preserve aromas and assure sweetness.
NO malolactic fermentation.
Varietals: See Body of Review
“Winemaker”: Edouard Guerin
Rating: 91 Wine Enthusiast
Imported By: Espirit Du Vin (Boca Raton FL)
P.S. You needn’t “catch a cold” to enjoy this white Cote du Rhone. Pairs well with roasted chicken made with herbs de Provence and turkey, grilled fish and pork. I made a Navy Bean soup with diced, smoked ham shank (de-fatted and de-skinned) in chicken broth with a bouquet garni of bay leaf, parsley & thyme, added some chopped carrot, onion and a little garlic. Soup was thickened w/o flour by pureeing some of the beans after cooking. Also pairs well by itself with another glass.
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