The Wines of Anjou-Saumur Take Me Back to a Classier Time

Chapter Sixteen. Part Twelve.
Wines of Anjou-Saumur WineSnark

If you follow the Loire River about a hundred miles eastward from Saint-Nazaire on France’s Atlantic coastline, you will come to the picturesque vineyards of Anjou and Saumur. Both red and white wines are produced here but the largest production in Anjou is a dry rosé that goes by the name of Rosé d’Anjou.

This uncomplicated wine, produced from the Grolleau grape,  is hardly revered around the world but it has a special place in my heart because it was briefly popular when I was a young man courting my wife. For you Millennials in the audience, “courting” is an English term for “hooking-up”. Courting was a refined ritual, a classy pursuit that entailed actually “driving” to her house and “picking her up” in my “car”. Then we’d dance and drink Rosé d’Anjou like a couple of sophisticated continentals until we puked.

Today Rosé d’Anjou has fallen out of fashion as young American consumers have decided it’s much classier to regurgitate Provence rosé.

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Loire Valley Wines Come Clean

CORRECTION; Due to a computer malfunction, the June 14th post Wine Industry Battles ‘Silent But Deadly’ Gas Emissions was not very funny. We hope to have the error corrected soon.

Chapter Sixteen. Part Eleven.

© 2014 Léonard de Serre, ADT Touraine

© 2014 Léonard de Serre, ADT Touraine

In my last article (and by article I mean rant) I wrote about the popularity of “formulaic recipe wines that use additives and sugar to add weight and mask off flavors”, but today I’m here to tell you there are many wine regions where the dry wine “recipe” does not include residual sugar or the additive mega-purple.

For years families in the Loire Valley have been crafting honest wines using techniques passed down from generation to generation. This vast French wine region surrounds the Loire River as it stretches westward for over 600 miles from its source in the Massif Central to its mouth at the Atlantic Ocean. This lengthy waterway may pale in comparison to the mighty Amazon River but on the bright side the French don’t have to fend off man-eating piranhas.

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Bordeaux Grape Varieties; Comfort Food For The Oenophile.

Chapter Sixteen. Part Five.

Left Bank vineyard at Chateau Margaux.

Left Bank vineyard at Chateau Margaux.

California winemakers like to imitate the French. No, they’re not on strike. In an attempt to mimic the classic wines of Bordeaux, they often blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec (the main varieties found in red Bordeaux wine), then they take a 3-hour lunch and go on strike.

Hey, I’m kidding. It’s what I do. I poke fun at my friends which probably explains why my Facebook page only has unfriend and unlike buttons. Seriously, many of these Bordeaux imitations are very elegant, feminine wines – in an unshaven sort of way.

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“Judgement at Don’s House” Revisited

It’s hard to believe the famous “Judgement at Paris” happened exactly 40 years ago. The blind tasting, pitting California wines against the great wines of France, stunned the world when French judges picked California wines over their own.

It’s even harder to believe it’s been a full year and a half since the “Judgement at Don’s House” sent shockwaves throughout my entire dining room. The blind tasting, pitting a New Jersey wine against California and French counterparts did not make the august pages of TIME Magazine, as George M. Tabor’s account did 40 years earlier, but the event has become a significant part of our celebrated American history. You know, like the duel between Raymond Burr and George Hamilton.

New Jersey's Alba Vineyard tasting room is full of awards and medals but what it needs is a little respect.

New Jersey’s Alba Vineyard tasting room is full of awards and medals but what it needs is a little respect.

Wines from New Jersey are the Rodney Dangerfield of the wine world – they don’t get no respect. Winemakers here sometimes feel like the rest of the world hates their wines. How could that be? The rest of the world hasn’t tasted them yet.

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Super Bowl; Because We Need Another Reason To Drink Wine

Don draws the short straw.

Don draws the short straw.

My family always drinks wine during religious observations, whether it’s a baptism, Easter, or Super Bowl Sunday. This year is no different even though the Giants are not playing (I guess God found the New Jersey tithes a little light).

The congregation is meeting at my house this year. That’s what happens when you draw the short straw (see illustration 1). We will gather around the 60″ LED 1080i high-definition altar with a glass of wine and watch colossal men try to maim and kill one another. It falls on me to pick the perfect wine to pair with this joyful occasion.

What is the calling, the hidden force, the innate primal drive that makes violent sports so appealing to men? Can anyone explain the macho impulses that drive men to create life threatening competitions like the Super Bowl, cliff diving and beer pong?

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