A Few Fresh Darlings
Updated: Feb 25
We are always so pleased to introduce people to the organically grown 'Les 4 Cepages' from Domaine de Pajot, as it represents one of the very best values on the market. Fresh and citrusy, with notions of crisp apples, pears, and herbs to boot, this wine is reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc (there's 35% in the blend) but a bit lighter and less pungent. The other grapes in the blend (Colombard, Ugni Blanc and Gros Manseng) are relatively neutral compared to Sauvignon, allowing the more famous grape to dominate on the nose and the palate. Don't let the price tag fool you, this wine competes with plenty at $15 to $20.
Domaine de Pajot Cotes de Gascogne 'Les 4 Cepages' 2019 - $10
Another stupendous value, we've written about this wine before, but it was the previous vintage, and the new vintage, 2019, is even better. Domaine des Cognettes is based in the prestigious Clisson commune of the Sevre et Maine region of the Loire Valley, where Muscadet is made. We remain with what seems like a never-ending mission to introduce the world to Muscadet and dispel any notions that this wine is associated with the Muscat grape. Muscadet is made from the Melon grape, which is pretty much diametrically opposed in character to Muscat. One should expect wines made from Melon to be relatively subtle on the nose, with high acidity, intense mineral character and low alcohol, while Muscat is typically super aromatic, often low in acid and high in alcohol, though sometimes quite mineral. In any case, the 2019 Selection des Cognettes is a marvelous for the price, with lots of crisp juicy fruit, subtle greenery (lettuce? cress?) and clear stony nuances through the finish. Perfect for oysters or just about any seafood, it's also easy to drink on its own.
Domaine des Cognettes Muscadet 'Selection des Cognettes' 2019 - $13
If we were preaching to the Muscadet choir above, chorists might risk sacrilege to ignore this amazing Elbling from Hild. A grape with deep roots in German wine culture, Elbling has the same parentage as Riesling, and until the early twentieth century was the most widely planted grape in Germany. Elbling does not accumulate sugar like Riesling and it is fair to say that it makes much less aromatic and complex wines, but that is not to say that Elbling is not worth trying, especially when you're looking at a bottle made by Matthias Hild. Hild's Zehnkomannul comes from his oldest vines (possibly the world's oldest Elbling) and it is an absolute joy. Super stony on the nose, with nuances of green grapes, mangosteen, green apple, foliage... a lot like Muscadet. Very tart and fresh on the palate, great mineral intensity, pure crunchy fruitiness, very dry, quite long on stoney flavors. It is only 10.5% alcohol, making it incredibly easy to sip, and a very versatile partner at the table. This is extremely limited. Try one soon.
Hild Elbling Trocken 'Zehnkommanull' 2019 - $25
We have introduced many of you to Grillo Iole through the rare Schioppettino grape, but the winery also makes wine from far more common grapes, like Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc. We recently tasted their 2019 Sauvignon and found it quite irresistible. Bursting with pungent aromas of passionfruit, peach, diverse citrus, green herbs and vegetable, it is unmistakably Sauvignon. Juicy fruit competes with veggies and pith on the palate, finishing dry and refreshing. No way this will covert the Sauvignon skeptic, but it will surely delight the devotee.
Grillo Iole Friuli Colli Orientali Sauvignon 2019 - $17