We’re pleased to announce the latest publication from Ansonia Wines. The Ansonia Notebook is a monthly collection of recipes, stories, discounted wines, and customer recommendations. The August Notebook has just been released.
The effect of time on wine is one of the culinary world’s great magic tricks. Timing and conditions are crucial, and with patience and cellar space in short supply, well-aged wines are increasingly rare. Older French wines in the US have often been stored poorly, or have changed hands so many times they include layers upon layers of markups.
Grenache is France’s second most planted grape. Found mostly in the South, as the primary grape in most Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Côtes du Rhône, grenache vines can also live well past their 100th birthday. With age comes lower yields and higher quality.
Alsace is one of our favorite places to visit. Wedged between France and Germany, this remarkably beautiful region has changed hands four times since the 1930s. Its inhabitants identify as Alsatian more than either French or German, and today Alsace incorporates the best traditions – cultural, culinary, oenological – of both nations.
“Natural wine” is a popular buzzword these days, one with varied definitions and no lack of controversy. Whatever you take it to mean — biodynamic, no sulfites, organic, unfiltered — the goal is the same: to create wine with little intervention between grape and glass.
Wine classification can be confusing — categorization and branding changes dramatically from one region to another. For example, the Old World tends to identify wines by place, while the New World tends to use grape varietal. It seems a minor shift, but it has enormous implications for the way people perceive wines.
After 13 years running Burgundy’s prestigious Domaine de l’Arlot, Olivier Leriche moved south to the rugged and remote region of Ardèche. More than just a change in landscape, the shift presented Olivier with an entirely new range of grape varietals: carignan, grenache, syrah, cabernet, and others.
For the careful shopper, the Languedoc can be an abundant resource. Long a source for inexpensive wine, the region has only recently become a source for value. There’s still plenty of bad wine made in the vast region, but if you make good choices $13 will take you farther here than just about anywhere else.
Some wines hit a sweet spot between balance, versatility, and price. These are wines to reach for after a long day at work, or to drink while curled up with a book. They’re wines you don’t need to think hard about – uncomplicated, refreshing, and inexpensive.
“Oaked” or “unoaked” sounds like a yes-no question, but it really is a range. Most of the wines we import spend some time in oak, but the strength of its influence depends on the age and size of the barrel, the chauffe (how heavily the inside is charred), and time in the barrel.
France is in the midst of an intense heat wave these days. Though the south of France is no stranger to summer heat, the country’s continental climate is important in helping its wines achieve balance. Grapes that are overripe contain too much sugar, which boosts alcohol levels and flattens the palate.
Francis Muré lives in a charming Alsatian hill town. His small farmhouse nestles on vine-covered slopes near stone streets lined with colorful flower boxes. It’s quaint and picturesque, like something from a children’s storybook.