Wine & Spirits - April 2012 - (Page 107)

YEAR’S BEST LOIRE Our blind panels tasted 192 new-release Loire wines over the past 12 months. Our critic for the Loire, Joshua Greene, rated 59 as exceptional (90+) and 31 as Best Buys. Find a complete list of wines tasted and all reviews at LO I RE S PA RKLING CREMANT DE LOIRE 181022 LOIRE W HITE CHEVERNY 181286 MONTLOUIS 180671 | Le Rocher des Violettes $ | Domaine de Baumard $ | Le Clos du Tue-Boeuf $ Cremant de Loire Brut Rosé Delicate bubbles lift this wine’s rose petal scent out of the glass. What follows is refreshing: light raspberry flavors that end zesty and dry. It’s clean and gentle, to enjoy on its own or with dried fruit and nuts. Vintus, Pleasantville, NY 181020 | Domaine de Baumard $ Cremant de Loire Carte Turquoise Brut (Best Buy) Tight and minerally, this needs a little air to evolve past its leesiness toward a racy, firm finish. A simple sparkler for pike quenelles. Vintus, Pleasantville, NY 2010 Cheverny Frileuse If you’re serving duck rillettes with cornichons, this wine should be there at the table. It’s delicate, with persistent citrusy acidity and yellow fruit that edges beyond quince into something more tropical, like mango. Keep it on the table for grilled dorade with fennel and green tomato marmalade. Louis/Dressner Selections, NY 181255 | Hervé Villemade $ MONTLOUIS 180788 | Domaine de la Taille aux Loups $ 2010 Cheverny Le Domaine du Moulin A broad and waxy chenin, this has quiet persistence to its flavors of pear and lemon verbena. It’s gentle and clean, a firm white for panroasted fish. Louis/Dressner Selections, NY 181283 2009 Montlouis sur Loire La Négrette Sec (Best Buy) When fruit mirrors the soil as closely as it does in this wine, it takes on a muscularity and freshness that is no less than astonishing. Xavier Weisskopf blends this from two parcels with sandy limestone and clay soils over tuffeau—a total of 3.7 acres planted prior to WWII, the wine aged in 600liter demi-muids for 18 to 20 months. It’s lovely chenin, firm and dark, intense in its juicy, earthy flavor. The finish keeps coming at you, even as the structure holds it in strict control. A treasure for the cellar: the inner power of the wine will allow it to develop for ten years or more. Vintage ’59 Imports, Washington, DC 181132 | François Cazin | Le Rocher des Violettes $ $ Montlouis-sur-Loire Triple Zéro (Best Buy) Sprightly with chenin acidity, this wine’s tart apple and pear flavors pull in one direction while umami notes pull in another. It’s racy and completely dry, with a hint of salted caramels deepening the finish. For duck rillettes. V.O.S. Selections, NY 2009 Cour-Cheverny Le Petit Chambord (Best Buy) Made from romorantin, this stylish white has super-rich flavors of lemon curd, a bit of waxy, fruit-skin tannin and plenty of juicy acidity. Check it out if you like high-acid whites, particularly if a cheese plate is involved. Louis/Dressner Selections, NY 181284 | François Cazin 2010 Montlouis sur Loire Les Borderies (Best Buy) A demi-sec from a parcel of 80year-old vines, this has the sweet scent of lemon custard and a bright flavor of apples and kumquats. It shares a gentle elegance with the Négrette (above), this wine’s mouthwatering acidity a match for fresh chèvre drizzled with honey. Vintage ’59 Imports, Washington, DC $ VOUVRAY 181290 | François Pinon $ Vouvray Brut Non Dosé Tiny, persistent bubbles are the first sign of this wine’s refinement. It delivers the tuffeau soil savor and the quince-scented chenin of Vouvray in an extremely dry style, its laser focus softened by scents of orange blossom, honey and fresh cream. Youthful and tightly wound, this will age with grace. Louis/Dressner Selections, NY 180678 2010 Cheverny Le Petit Chambord (Best Buy) Racy with lime-pith flavors and salty acidity, this is a green chenin to serve with fresh chèvre. Louis/Dressner Selections, NY MUSCADET 181274 | Domaine de la Pépière $ CHINON 178371 | Couly-Dutheil $ | Château Moncontour $ Vouvray Brut Tête de Cuvée (Best Buy) The mineral salinity of this wine brings Muscadet to mind, if Muscadet were sparkling. Ripe quince flavors add juiciness while searing acidity keeps it clean. For scallops with butterbraised leeks. USA Wine West, Sausalito, CA 2010 Chinon Les Chanteaux (Best Buy) An ethereal chenin, this has the pale platinum glow of moonlight. Its flavors range from quince to cherimoya and white tuffeau soil, their juiciness held tight by sophisticated layers of acidity. Built for the cellar, this will show its best with bottle age, when the acidity merges into the wine’s roundness. Serve it now with fresh Belon oysters, or aged with oysters poached in cream. Frank-Lin Int’l., San Jose, CA 2009 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Granite de Clisson Marc Ollivier grows this at a two-acre parcel of 60- to 90-year-old vines planted on the granite of the Massive Armoricain; he and several other growers on this terroir now create special bottlings under the Granite de Clisson label. This wine ages for 24 months on the lees, developing a brilliant depth of flavor that sets it apart from its siblings. The color is platinum, the scent a compelling mix of lime, orange blossom, fig and sage. There’s a brothy richness, like an infusion of lobster shells, a ripe juiciness that’s focused and firmed up along its silken texture. Destined to become a classic, this wine will age for a decade or more. Louis/Dressner Selections, NY 181263 W I N E & S P I R I T S A P R I L 2 0 1 2 107

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Wine & Spirits - April 2012

Wine & Spirits - April 2012
Editor's Note
Fined & Filtered: Patrick Comiskey on pairing wine with molecular gastronomy
Extreme Values
Spirits: Lou Bustamante on cocktail bitters
Wine Superheros
Port without Serra
The Class of ’72
Brightliners in the Deep End
The Restoration of Austria’s Noble Red
New & Notable New York City Restaurants
23rd Annual Restaurant Poll
Tastings Overview
American Pinot Noir
Austrian Wines
White Burgundy
Loire Wines
Portugal Reds
Tuscan Wines
American Wines
Imported Wines
Lost Commandments Howard G. Goldberg rewrites Exodus

Wine & Spirits - April 2012