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Tag Archives: Gascon wine

Wine of the week: Château du Cèdre Cedrus Le Blanc 2012

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Wine of the week: Château du Cèdre Cedrus Le Blanc 2012What’s left to say about Gascon white wine blends that hasn’t been said since the first ones appeared in the 2008 $10 Hall of Fame? The same things I’ve been writing all along — cheap, well-made, food-friendly, and tasty. Can’t get too much of a $10 good thing, can we?

The Cedrus ($10, purchased, 11.5%) is more Gascon cheap white wine excellence, colombard and ugni blanc blended together to make a crisp, citrusy wine with the region’s trademark white grapiness and that is clean and delicious. And all for the same price as one of those incredibly dull, all too fruity grocery store red wines that California insists that we drink.

One of these days, I’ll do a Gascon tasteoff, and see which one is the best of the best. Until then, enjoy this abondance — and think about keeping a bottle or two around for the holidays. It’s a terrific wine if anyone stops by, if all you want is something to drink with Chinese takeout, or just feel like a glass after work.

Wine of the week: Domaine des Cassagnoles 2012

55084LA friend read the manuscript for the cheap wine book and said he had a fairly big question: “Why aren’t there any wine recommendations?” Because, of course, all wine books have to have wine recommendations.

The Cassagnoles ($10, purchased, 12%) helps answer his question: It’s the quintessential cheap white wine – professionally made and interesting, yet simple enough to appeal to people who are scared of wine and who don’t want to spend a lot of money for something that they don’t know.

It’s produced in the wonderfully white grape and citrus style that defines Gascon white wine, and is made with grapes that don’t show up too many other places – one-half colombard, with ugni blanc and gros manseng filling out the blend. It’s fresh and bright and lively and the bottle is gone before you know it. Wine for weeknight dinners doesn't get much better than this. That's why it's in the $10 Hall of Fame and should stay there for a long while.

But what happens if I recommend it in the book, and a reader can’t find it locally? Or buys an older vintage, which is worn out and off-putting? Or buys the wine one year when it isn’t well done, which is possible given the vagaries of the wine business and that the book probably won’t be updated every year with new recommendations. They’ll fire off an angry email.

That’s why the book is about the process of cheap wine – its history, why cheap wine is possible, what makes a quality cheap wine, and how to find one. Then the reader won’t be complaining. He or she will will be too busy drinking great cheap wine they found themselves, like the Cassagnoles. What more could I ask for?

Wine of the week: Domaine de Pouy 2011

original-2811-1--domaine-de-pouy-ugni-blanc-franceThis Gascon white wine set me up for a 2013 Curmudgie. I saw it in the store, and immediately doubted whether it would be any good, and for no reason other than I was being stupid.

A guy I know at the store talked me into buying it, and the first thing I did the next time I saw him was to apologize for being so cranky. What’s the most important rule in tasting wine? Drink it before you judge it.

The de Pouy ($10, purchased, 10.5% alcohol) is another amazingly fresh, almost grapey wine from Gascony, made with grapes used almost nowhere else in the world. It’s one of many Gascon wines I’ve praised over the past several years, many of which are in the 2013 $10 Hall of Fame.

What sets the de Pouy apart is a green apple sort of citrus note that balances everything and takes the wine where most $10 wines don’t go. Yes, it’s a simple wine, but the best simple wines, like this one, aren’t overdone or insulting. That’s what makes them interesting.

Highly recommended; chill it and drink on its own, or with almost any kind of food that isn’t red meat, a cream sauce, or spaghetti. It should stay in the Hall as long as it costs $10 — and as long as I don’t judge it before I drink it.

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