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Category Archives: Wine of the week

Wine of the week: Félines Jourdan Picpoul-de-Pinet 2013

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Felines Jourdan picpoulPicpoul, the white wine made with the picpoul grape in southern France, is one of those summertime wines that most Americans, unless they write a wine blog, don’t know about. The catch, of course, is that given the way the wine world works, even if more of us knew about picpoul, we probably wouldn’t be able to buy it. The last time I checked, the retailers that bother (and even the good ones) carry the same picpoul.

Because it’s not chardonnay, and aren’t we supposed to drink chardonnay?

Fortunately, the Wine Curmudgeon is ever vigilant, and can report that the Felines Jourdan picpoul ($10, sample, 13%) is well worth knowing, buying, and drinking — lots and lots of it, in fact. Jourdan makes a couple of picpouls, which by itself would recommend it to the Wine Curmudgeon. That this version of the Felines Jourdan picpoul is so well done, and offers so much more than almost any other picpoul I’ve tasted, makes it that much better.

Look for the varietal’s trademark tart lemon fruit (picpoul loosely translates as lip-stinger in English), as well as something softer — peach? — in the middle and a little minerality on the finish. Again, not something that a lot of $10, one-note wines have or even consider having.

Drink this chilled on its own or with almost any combination of boiled seafood this summer (or in any of the other nine months, actually). Highly recommended, and almost certain to go into the $10 Hall of Fame in January.

Wine of the week: Domaine du Tariquet Rosé

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tariquet roseWhat’s the perfect wine for rose week here on the blog? How about a rose from the Wine Curmudgeon’s favorite Gascon producer, Domaine du Tariquet?

Tariquet, of course, is the Gascon producer that introduced me to the wonders of ugni blanc and colombard in a cheap white blend. And the Tariquet rose ($10, sample, 12%), if not exactly the wine I expected, is another delicious cheap wine that demonstrates the Tariquet ability to deliver low prices and high quality.

Why not the wine I expected? Because it was much fruitier (watermelon?) than I thought it would be, given it’s French and not from California or Washington state. However, since it has merlot and syrah among its four-grape blend, that shouldn’t be surprising. This makes the Tariqet rose more New World than Old, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a terrific cheap wine. There is still balance, freshness, and a surprising amount of fullness and length for a $10 rose.

My only complaint? I’m not sure what vintage is for sale, and how available the wine will be this spring. Though there is a retailer in this area that carries the wine, it’s almost an hour away in Fort Worth. This sample, a 2012, came last fall from the importer, who was probably trying to get rid of inventory. Hopefully, most of us will be to find the wine more easily than I can, and will find a newer vintage.

Highly recommended, and almost certain to join the Tariquet white blend in the $10 Hall of Fame next year assuming I can find a more recent vintage.

Wine of the week: Chateau Sainte Marie Vieilles Vignes Rouge 2011

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Chateau Sainte Marie How is it, just when the Wine Curmudgeon has all but given up on finding quality, affordable French wine from Bordeaux, that I suddenly find some? The red Chateau Sainte Marie ($15, sample, 13.5%), like the white Chateau Martinon, speaks to Bordeaux wine that tastes like it came from Bordeaux and that wasn’t made to please Robert Parker.

Look for a certain earthiness, jammy black fruit that is modern in style but not offensive, smooth tannins, and a soft, merlot-like finish. In this, it’s an upgrade from the cheap red Bordeaux of my youth, which was often harsh and full of unripe fruit, the kind of wine we drank not because we liked it, but because we thought it made us sophisticated.

The Chateau Sainte Marie, from the less known Bordeaux Superieur appellation, is about three-quarters merlot, with the rest cabernet sauvignon, and it isn’t perfect. I would have liked a little more grip, the idea that there was more to the wine than the fruit. But it is solid, well-made, and varietally correct. These days, given its price, that’s more than enough of a reason to drink it.

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