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

Note: Work responsibilities have kept me from posting for a few weeks but apparently no one noticed as my click counter ran up over 24,000 hits while I was away. Maybe I should not post more often.
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.

Read More

Super Bowl – The Menu Says Sweet, Your Friends Want Dry

Football Chips WineSnarkThe holiday season comes to an end this Sunday. We celebrated a harvest Thanksgiving, rejoiced in the birth of our savior, and welcomed a new year. Now comes that most sacred of American holidays – the Super Bowl, a holiday commemorated by 114 million people paying homage to hostile 300-pound men battling in day-glo tights. Don’t you just love this planet?

I didn’t expect the Giants to make it to the Super Bowl and they didn’t let me down. They lost in the first round of the playoffs and I spent the following week watching game replays on ESPN because depression makes me so happy. I was so disheartened I actually stopped eating for a minute.

To cheer me up my wife decided to have friends over on Super Bowl Sunday even though she knows I like watching football without a lot of distractions. That’s why I always make the kids leave the room when the game begins. This starts with some simple cajoling but usually ends with a tantrum and a lot of tears. Sometimes the kids get upset too.

Read More

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.

Read More

Either I’m Getting Older or I’m Not As Young As I Used To Be

How the sweet red wine trend sent me off my rocker.

don-carter-old-codger-posterIt’s the fall wine-tasting season and after sampling a thousand wines over the past month I’m left with the uneasy feeling that I may be suffering from old-timer’s disease. The symptoms include difficulty understanding why red wines are getting sweeter, confusion about labels that look like gothic murder scenes, and appalling marksmanship around the spit bucket. I think there might also be something about forgetfulness.

You may be thinking, “Aw fiddlesticks! Tasting wine doesn’t make you feel old.”

Just as sure as eggs is eggs there’s a chasm forming in the bedrock of wines priced under $20 that make us prellennials scratch our balding heads and wonder what in tarnation is going on. I feel old because by golly, I can remember back in the day when wines were dry!

Read More

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.

Read More