Cheap n Cheerful Selections – August 2023
- Dom Timothee Delalle “La Burette” Gamay/Cab Franc
- Adelante Old Vines Malbec La Conulta Vyrd, Uco Valley
- Podere San Cristoforo “Baci” Sangiovese
- Delaunay La Brosette Rose
- Walnut Block, Collectables S.B. Marlborough
- Cuvee Elisabeth Cotes de Gascogne Blanc
DOM. TIMOTHEE DELALLE “LA BURETTE” GAMAY/CAB FRANC $15.99
This is a new Domaine, having been launched in 2018 by Timothee, who was studying/making wine in Switzerland prior to scouting out this Loire property just east of Tours in the “Touraine” AOC. At the time of purchase, the vines were an average of 40 years old, and he is now converting them to organic (not yet certified). Timothee’s Delalle Timothee in vyrdapproach to winemaking is best described in his own words:
“The wines are vinified with the greatest respect for the harvest, the terroir and the grape varieties. The fermentations are spontaneous, the addition of sulphites is minimal. My objective is to support winemaking rather than to control it.”
Timothee produces a miniscule amount of wine each year – about 700 cases (!!) and it quickly sells out. If you enjoy this wine, don’t wait to re-order as it’s unlikely we’ll have it on our shelf for long.
Tasting Notes: These two grapes are grown in different terroirs/vineyards, and each brings its distinct personality to the wine – Cabernet Franc adds luscious notes of mocha, red fruits and hints of fresh garden veggies (bell pepper, esp) while the Gamay lends suggestions of savory red fruits. Ready to open now. Quick! Go get a corkscrew!
ADELANTE OLD VINES MALBEC LA CONSULTA VYRD, UCO VALLEY $18.99
Argentinian Malbec is a hearty red grape variety that is consistently reliable in Argentina, but tends to taste pretty much the same. The trick to enjoying a great is to seek out the few that have something unique to say, that take the time and effort to capture their unique terroir in every bottling.
The Uco Valley is, arguably, Argentina’s top spot when it comes to wine, and to Malbec in particular. And its beauty makes it an attractive spot for wine tourism, as does its fine dining scene featuring the nation’s top source of protein – beef – for which it is well known
This wine comes from a sub-region called La Consulta, down in the Southern portion of the Valle near Mendoza, home to this vineyard and its 68-year-old vines. It is still a new idea to produce wine from a single vineyard in Argentina, and Adelante helped pioneer the concept.
Winemaker Ray Kaufman (right) started his career in the 1970s in California’s Sonoma Valley. His impressive resume includes such notable names as Kenwood Vineyards, Bouchaine, and Laurel Glen, where he worked from 1987 until it’s sale in 2011.
It was then that Ray visited Argentina and witnessed first-hand a winemaking scene that reminded him of his early days in California, a bounty of new ideas, a pouring in of new people, all bouyed by an enthusiasm that helped these New World wines leapfrog over more tradition-steeped, slower-moving Old World cultures.
PODERE SAN CRISTOFORO “BACI DI SANGIOVESE” (BIODYNAMIC) $18.99
Baci di Sangiovese – the kiss of Sangiovese – offers “aromas of red fruits and sweet spices that caress your lips with rich yet gentle tannins.” Or so say the winery’s tasting notes. Frankly, I beg to differ.
Because I don’t detect tannins on my lips. In my experience, I sense tannin on my tongue and the roof of my mouth. So if the wine’s caress is leaving its ‘rich yet gentle tannins‘ inside my mouth, it seems more likely to be engaged in proper, fuill-on tongue kissing rather than light and flirtatious pecks on the lips. And tongue kissing seems a more apt analogy for this wine, which has a little hedonism stashed beneath every cork.
But I reunite with the winery as they finish their tasting notes – ‘A generous, big-hearted wine, to fall in love with; bold and voluptuous, it is ideal for drinking with those who bring a smile to your face.’ And who could argue with that?
The grapes for this wine are 100% Sangiovese, coaxed into becoming wine by the talented Tuscan team at Podere Cristoforo, whose wines are more accustomed to traveling from the winery to collector’s cellars inside custom-made wooden boxes than bearing whimsical labels such as this one. But that goes a long way towards explaining this affordable wine’s hedonism. The vintage produced bright, energetic wines with loads of charm and sex appeal. 12.5% ABV, fewer than 1,200 cases produced. Drink now through 2025.
This is not one of those wines.
DELAUNAY LA BROSSETTE ROSE TOURAINE (ORGANIC) $15.99
Thierry Delaunay has a firm hand on the reins of his multi-generational winery. When he took them from his parent’s generation, he increased their production, converted the family vineyard to organic and decreased yields to raise quality.
All of these actions argue for increases to their retail price, of course, and while the wines have gone up somewhat (as all wines have) they’ve not increased anywhere near the amount they’d need to justify these moves – the benefit of a long history of family ownership (as in, no mortgages!)
Their winery is within spitting distance of the famed Chenonceau, one of the Loire Valley’s best-kept castles from the middle ages, noted for its white stone turrets marking the entryway, its slate roofs and its dining hall/dance hall that extends across the river Cher. OK it’s easiesr to just include a picture (L).
The wine is from their organic family vineyard named “Brossette”, and is a blend of 70% Gamay and 30% Cabernet Franc. Located in the ‘Touraine’ AOC, a region known for its Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc and a smattering of Pinot and Gamay. The wine’s light color gives way to a deceptively flavorful rosé.
WALNUT BLOCK SAUVIGNON BLANC, MARLBOROUGH NZ (ORGANIC) $18.99
The Walnut Block winery was founded in 2005 by two siblings – Clyde and Nigel Sowman – but the family’s vineyard was planted a decade earlier and named for the large Walnut Tree the vineyard surrounds (below, right). At 150 years of age, it’s the oldest in NZ, apparently. And it’s depicted on the label of this wine, from their “Collectibles” line of entry-level wines, the postage stamp replication depicting another passion of the owners.
The winery earned their organic farming certification in 2013 (certificate #5240), one of just 10% of New Zealand wineries to be certified (though 96% comply with the New Zealand standard). NZ wineries are very proactive in their sustainability goals, a practice that grew from Maori people, who have long followed the belief said as “Manaaki Whenua, Manaaki Tangata, Haere Whakamua” or “If we take care of the earth, and take care of the people, we will take care of the future.”
The wine is classic, cool-weather NZ Sauvignon Blanc – Gooseberry, passionfruit, basil/bell pepper, grapefruit. It is refreshing and not over-powering and easy to drink. 13% ABV.
A quick side note for those who enjoy taking vacations in wine country – Walnut Block offers 5-star accommodations in the middle of their vineyard, and in view of the famed walnut tree. Give them a call, if interested.
CUVEE ELISABETH COTES DE GASCOGNE BLANC, $12.99
The other white wine in this month’s Bargain selections is from the Gascony region of France. Though the region may be more famous for its swashbuckling swordsmen (d’Artagnan, Cyrano de Bergerac) than its wines, we selected this affordable gem for its surprising ‘deliciousness-to-dollars‘ ratio!
It’s a blend of some odd grapes – Colombard, Sauvignon Gris and Gros Manseng – each bringing a unique offering to this potluck party.
Pair this refreshing white wine with Asian dishes, sashimi/sushi, grilled shrimp, and light fresh cheeses from goat’s or sheep’s milk.