Most people have an idea of how Pinot Noir and Chardonnay taste – they’re most often found in pure, unblended form. But other grapes – such as Mourvèdre, Cinsault, and Carignan – are most often blended, and their individual characteristics can be elusive.
We’ve always been fond of Morey-St-Denis, a picturesque little town wedged between its more famous neighbors of Chambolle-Musigny and Gevrey-Chambertin. One of our red Burgundy sources, the Domaine Pierre Amiot, is located right in the town. Amiot turns out classic Morey-St-Denis – firm, mineral wines with refined fruit and elegant structure.
Carignan is probably the most widely planted grape you never heard of. It covers nearly 80% of the vast Languedoc, and given free rein the grape can yield 200hl/ha (versus maximums of about 30 in Burgundy). This is a formula for ordinary wine.
The word “locavore” may have been coined within the last decade, but in rural France it has been the norm for centuries. Shopping and eating locally (and seasonally) has always been part of the national culture, and the habit extends to wine as well.
Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a well-trodden appellation. Made famous by French popes in the 14th century, and then again by Robert Parker in the 1980s, the area has been on the winemaking map for some time. The wines can be extraordinary, but are usually at a “special occasion” price point for most wine enthusiasts. Enter Gigondas.
The magical transformation from grape-juice to wine involves two fermentations. The first, called “alcoholic” fermentation, converts natural sugars into alcohol. The second, called “malolactic” fermentation, converts malic acid (found in apples and tart fruits) into a softer lactic acid (found in milk). The effect of the malolactic fermentation is to soften a wine, and to thicken its mouthfeel.
This morning we released the October Issue of our Futures program. Futures offers near-wholesale pricing through advance orders. This issue features eight producers from four different regions, including selections from Burgundy, Chablis, Bordeaux, Rhône, and Mosel Valley in Germany.
Two weeks ago we celebrated the wedding of the younger half of the Ansonia team. A warm and sunny afternoon graced our reception on an old farm outside Portland, Maine. Cocktails flowed, music played, and dancing continued late into the night. It was a lovely celebration, surrounded by friends and family, from near and far.
It’s October, and as usual, the markets are teeming with pumpkins and squash. These sweet, nutty delights have always found their way into autumn dishes in our house, and their tastes represent the season as much as any fallen leaf or end zone celebration. We use them in recipes ranging from soups to salads, and enjoy them for as long as they’re available.
We’ve had an impressive series of autumn sunsets here in Maine recently, painting the sky with colors to rival the brilliant trees. But they’ve been arriving earlier each evening, and by the end of next month they’ll coincide with the kickoff of Sunday afternoon football. We’re beginning to feel an urge to squirrel away acorns.