Today’s pair of wines recently hit the shelves thanks to Phil Bernstein. Always interested in expanding my Northern Rhone experience I excitedly popped open the 2011 Jean-Michel Gerin, Champin Le Seigneur, Cote-Rotie. Jean-Michel Gerin first worked under the advisement of Jean-Luc Colombo whose modern 2013 Jean-Luc Colombo, Les Bartavelles, Chateauneuf du Pape I recently tasted. From the onset Gerin employed “modern” ways including new oak some of which was American. The Champin Le Seigneur is a blend of Syrah and Viognier sourced from all of his parcels. Fortunately, this particular vintage is not evocative of oak. Instead, it is a gentle, pure wine of mixed fruits, floral notes, and stones. It is quite tasty right now but will develop with further age.
From Corsica comes the 2013 Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Cuvee Faustine. This blend of Sciaccarellu and Niellucciu provide attractive flavors of tart red fruity and dry floral notes. There are not many Corsican wines available in Washington, DC so this wine is worth a try. The balance tilts towards the structure with air so I suspect now might be the time to drink it. These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.
2011 Jean-Michel Gerin, Champin Le Seigneur, Cote-Rotie -$45
Imported by Esprit du Vin. This wine is a blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Viognier. Alcohol 13%. There are gentle clouds of ripe aroma. In the mouth the smooth, dense entry combines red and black fruit with an inky, mineral, stone infused middle. The interest continues as fat infused strawberry and floral flavors develop with air. ***(*) Now – 2027.
2013 Domaine Comte Abbatucci, Cuvee Faustine – $25
Imported by Kermit Lynch. This wine is a blend of 70% Sciaccarellu and 30% Niellucciu raised in stainless steel and cement. Alcohol 14%. The red fruited start defines itself with tart red fruit bound in a tangy structure. There are dry floral and herb notes but the structure really blooms in size. I Like the flavor profile with its very delicate and ethereal ripe berries on the gum and persistent herbs. *** Now – 2022.
This bottle from Domaine Maestracci is imported by Kermit Lynch and available at MacArthurs for $13. I recently grabbed this bottle of Corsican wine off the shelves of MacArthurs. My recent Corsican wine experience is limited to a red by Yves Leccia and a rose by Antoine Arena. This wine is produced from vines located in Vin de Corse-Calvi subregion. This area is located in the north-western portion of Corsica located around the town of Calvi. Domaine Maestracci’s vineyard is located on the granite Reginu plateau. The domaine originated as an olive grove and mill until it was sold to Roger Maestracci in 1945. The domaine was converted to a vineyard and winery and in the 1980s Roger retired and son-in-law Michel Raoust took over.
The flavor profile of this wine was a pleasing surprise. This wine is both light and refreshing but contains a serious undertone throughout. A small portion of the wine comes from the Sciaccarellu varietal which is unique to Corsica. Whereas Niellucciu is the cousin of Sangiovese there are no known cousins for Sciaccarellu. According to “The Oxford Companion to Wine” this varietal can produce deeply flavors but lighter color wine. If you want to try something new or take a refreshing change from the Southern Rhone then grab a few bottles of this well priced wine.
2010 Domaine Maestracci, Clos Reginu, Corse Calvi
This wine is a blend of 30% Niellucciu, 30% Grenache, 15% Sciaccarellu, 15% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Carignan. The fruit is sourced from the domaine’s youngest vines, 5-25 years of age, grown on soils of sandy clay on granite. The wine is aged for six months in stainless steel. This drank well over two nights. The wine is a light ruby color with a grape/purple tinge. There is a light, gritty nose with a rich undertone that is both familiar and different. The flavors initially build to red fruit, pepper, with little waves from the Southern Rhone. These lighter flavors are structured with drying tannins. There are impressions of richness followed by supple black cherry, hard stones, pepper, and a leaner aftertaste. *** Now-2015.
I always find it fun to shake things up and drink outside of our usual regions. I was looking forward to the L.A. Cetto from Mexico but this was not a good wine. It had been years since I drank one of their wines but what I do remember is that they were enjoyable. At this price point it is worth trying a different selection. The Camberley is a decent value but somewhat uninteresting. The Yves Leccia from Corsica is certainly worth a try if you have never drunk a Corsican wine but it is a bit over priced. The big surprise was the Dr. Konstantin Frank Chardonnay from New York! This is a cool climate Chardonnay that might appeal to those willing to venture away from bigger styles. At $15 it is a strong value and a wine that everyone should try.
The L.A. Cetto was purchased for $12 at The Wine Cellar/Exxon gas station in Ocean City, MD. The Yves Leccia is imported by Kermit Lynch and purchased for $20 at MacArthurs. The Camberley Prohibition was purchased for $15-$20 at MacArthur’s. The Dr. Konstantin Frank was purchased for $15 at Wegmans in Fairfax, VA.
2008 L.A. Cetto, Petit Sirah, Baja California
This wine is 100% Petit Sirah that was aged for six months in French barriques. Unfortunately, not so good. Very forward, jammy, overtly fruity wine. I could not drink it but Jenn enjoyed a glass. * Now.
2009 Domaine d’E Croce (Yves Leccia), Cuvee YL, Corsica
This wine is a blend of 80% Grenache and 20% Nielluciu that was fermented and aged for 12 months in stainless steel. This has pine-sol notes of pine and lemon to the tooty-fruity red aromas. In the mouth the hard red flavors had some texture in this light to medium-bodied wine. There are some blue fruits that mix with hints of minerals as the wine becomes lifted. Fine+ tannins come out in the finish and aftertaste. ** Now-2015.
2006 Camberley, Prohibition, Stellenbosch
This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged for 28 months. Of the 14 barrels that were aged, four were used for the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and the remaining 10 for the Prohibition. This was dark with a nose of eucalyptus and graphite. In the mouth the dark, sour fruits mixed with tart acidity and continued into the dark, steely aftertaste. There were minimal tannins. Needs more verve. ** Now.
2008 Dr. Konstantin Frank, Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, Finger Lakes
This is 100% Chardonnay where a portion of free-run juice was fermented in French oak barrels with the rest in stainless steel vats. It was aged for ten months in barrel. On the second night there was a nice, lifted nose of rich fruit. In the mouth the medium weight fruit had a soft attack followed by flinty qualities. The fruit was apple-like with some heft, a bit of sweet spice, and green apple-like acidity. Actually quite pleasing. *** Now.
The Walrus and the Carpenter
Walked on a mile or so,
And then they rested on a rock
And all the little Oysters stood
And waited in a row.
I was able to join Clark and Julia for dinner one night in Ballard at the Walrus and the Carpenter. They are frequent patrons to the many restaurants and quirky bars that have opened over the years. The mixture of 19th century buildings, originals features, new build outs, and creative energy has made Ballard a neighborhood that I enjoy visiting during each of my trips. This is a popular restaurant and was recently featured by Frank Bruni of The New York Times. They specialize in oysters and other dishes made from the freshest ingredients.
We started off by ordering cocktails. I chose the pamplemousse which is a mixture of aperol, white wine, and grapefruit juice.
Being a popular restaurant with fresh cocktails and only one bartender, our cocktails did not arrive until we were halfway through our plates of food. We then opted to drink a bottle of the 2009 Antoine Arena, Rose Patrimonio, Corsica.
The bottle was not chilled so our waitress dunked it in a big bowl of ice water to chill down. Antoine Arena makes wine with his family from their biodynamic estate. He aims to be regarded as the best produced on Corsica. The Patrimonio Rose is a blend of 80% Niellucciu and 20% Vermentinu. Niellucciu vines originated in the 12th century as Sangiovese vines that were brought over when Corsica was part of the Republic of Pisa. The Niellucciu for this cuvee is sourced from the Morta Maio vineyard which was planted in 2001. This wine is made primarily from the saignee method. The color really stands out as more salmon than rose. Very fresh with flavors of peach and minerals.
They do not take reservations so if you find yourself waiting for a table and do not want to wander far then venture into the Dutch Bike Co. next door. While examine the beautiful bicycles you may also have a drink!