Posts tagged #french wine

Julien Courtois "Ancestral"

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Julien Courtois "Ancestral"
Varietals: Côt, Gamay & Gascon
Region: Loire, France
Year: 2012
Price: ~$30
Retailer: Lou Wine Shop

It's interesting when your hobby becomes your job. It is so fun and exciting and gratifying, and it is challenging and exhausting, just like you always knew it would be. And then there is this part where you find yourself uninspired and frustrated, because that thing you used to do to relax and be creative is now your job.

But you have to get back to that thing; that thing that made you laugh when no one was around, that thing that took weight off your shoulders no one else could, that thing you couldn't stop doing if you tried, that thing you did for no one but yourself, that thing that gave you purpose before you knew you had a purpose.

And here we are. I couldn't be more predictable if I tried with a Gamay blend. It's like I've lit a bunch of fancy-ass candles, put on Getz/Gilberto and am leading myself to bed to try to rekindle a dwindling romance...

AND IT WORKS!

Julien Courtois' "Ancestral" has me feeling more than satisfied, entirely in love all over again, and convinced that my relationship with wine will last forever.

It's got a mouth on it; acerbic and a little dirty. There's definitely a bite to it, but it is very smooth. Its acidity walks a tight rope of savory tension that leaves you wanting more. This is not a shallow Gamay that you drink before dinner and never think about again. This has a smokey delicious depth to it I want to swim in forever. 

Tasting Notes: Cranberry and black cherry on the nose, with some hints of melted Red Vines. On the palate, there's very tart cranberry and red currant, resting upon a bed of savory smoke. There is this umami-ness to it too, and the mouthfeel is very "freshly laundered white t-shirt." Nicely balanced considering the high acidity. 

Ross Test: Delicious!

Bechtold Alsace Crémant

pour this alsace holiday marissa ross

Bechtold Alsace Crémant
Region: Alsace, France
Year: 2013

I always dreamt of living in New York when I was younger, and having a real holiday season. I'd imagine myself all bundled up and shaking snow off my jacket as I entered my apartment, which was much larger and with much more crown molding than I could ever actually afford in New York. There was also a fireplace, which from what I've gathered from my hundred visits to the Big Apple, is not a real thing for a writer under thirty. But I'd sit next to that fantasy fireplace and I would listen to Vince Guaraldi and drink wine and watch snow cascade down my window, down onto a quiet Brownstone lined street. I would have Meg Ryan's perfect hair, Meg Ryan's perfect poised "there's something so much more there" smile, Meg Ryan's sweater collection... okay, I would be Meg Ryan. 

On the contrary, my holiday seasons have mostly consisted of me flipping off sandals and not being Meg Ryan. 

Although the California Christmas experience is not the vision I stitched together from 90's movies, it has it's moments. I love the quiet ones, much like I imagined for myself in a borough where Tom Hanks lives. The instrumental version of "Christmas Time Is Here" hangs in the room while the freshly trimmed tree twinkles. The atmosphere is soft and warm, and truly relaxing. It feels like the first time you've really gotten to sit back all year. And even though all is calm, there is still a sense of excitement sparkling. 

Few wines could encompass this feeling like the Bechtold Alsace Crémant. Smooth and crisp, this sips like a favorite white wine but has these tiny, spirited bubbles. They are not aggressive or even unruly. They are steady and comforting, like good company and conversation on your couch. 

I love this wine because although it could very well be a celebratory pop, for me, it is a "sit back and enjoy the magic while we have it" wine. It's bright and merry without being a holiday office party wine. Even though it's sparkling, this wine is slower. I want to take my time with it, and subsequently take some time for myself. 

This is the wine I would be drinking while I watched the snow fall outside my New York window. And this is the wine I will be using to take pleasure in the season here in California. Because no, it does not snow. But it was never the snow that I was looking for. It was the feeling. And with the right wine, a good cozy knit, and A Charlie Brown Christmas, it feels like everything I want Christmas to feel like.

LIKE MEG RYAN!

Just kidding.
Kinda. 

Tasting Notes: Extremely light on the nose. The palate is effortless and scrumptious, like my mother's lemon bars. Well balanced minerality, and all around a wonderful drinker.  

Ross Test: Bubbles are always a little tough but this one is do-able! 

Posted on December 8, 2015 .

Pascal Janvier Coteaux du Loir Rouge "Cuvée du Rosier"

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Pascal Janvier Coteaux du Loir Rouge "Cuvée du Rosier"
Varietal: Pineau d'Aunis
Region: Loire, France
Year: 2014
Price: $20
Retailer: Silverlake Wine

This morning I woke to pouring rain, and breathed a sigh of relief.

The relief was short-lived. When I got out of my car at the gas station, my sunglasses fogged from the wretchedly high humidity and I knew all hope was lost. I immediately regretted blow drying my hair. Not that my hair is curly or anything, but because it now looks like I've been at the gym all day. I feel like I've been at the gym all day. Ugh. Humidity is the worst.

But nothing to pull you out of humidity grouch mode like a favorite bottle of wine, like Pascal Janvier's Coteaux du Loir Rouge. 

Pineau d'Aunis is a red varietal only found in the Loire, and is generally used in blends. But when it isn't getting thrown around in Touraine and is left to its own devices, Pineau d'Aunis is a light bodied beast. 

The "Cuvée du Rosier" reminds me of gamay's sexy older brother. Same care-free attitude, but reads Politico and wears a subtle aftershave. You're probably hanging out in gamay's basement playing Mario Kart when "Cuvée du Rosier" rolls in and starts cracking jokes about John Boehner you don't really get, but laugh along with anyway because he has just the right amount of scruff and a really nice smile. One night he gives you a ride home, and you've been secretly making out ever since.

BUT GAMAY CAN NEVER KNOW!

Instead of gym hair, I'm going to pretend my hair is now playfully tussled "Cuvée du Rosier" hair. 

Tasting Notes: Bright berries and citrus on the nose. The palate is light but layered, with plenty of fruit, energized spice and excited minerality. Youthful and seductive. The kind of wine that reminds me why I love wine, with lots of warm butterflies. 

Ross Test: Oral sex

Philippe Jambon "Une Tranche Fine"

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Philippe Jambon "Une Tranche Fine"
Varietal: Gamay
Region: Villié-Morgon, France
Year: 2013
Price: $21.99
Retailer: DomaineLA

If you can't tell by my makeup-less, top-knotted, surly-ass face, I was in desperate need of a gamay today in a way that only a woman immobilized by cramps sent from the depths of hell itself could truly understand. 

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Despite still looking like an angry monster, "Une Tranche Fine" was just what the doctor ordered, along with Aleve and a passionate pursuit of high-grade painkillers, despite both of my god damned drug dealers ignoring my cries for help from the feminine product isle. If it wasn't for this wine, I would be crying or dying or both, presumably in the fetal position in bed while the DVD menu of Seinfeld looped for hours on end. 

But fortunately for the both of us, I have gathered the strength to persevere and tell you all about this wine.

Aside from its medicinal purposes, "Une Tranche Fine" is overall an exquisite example of organic French gamay. It tastes like bottled fireworks. Scintillating and skillful, its tart and carbonite fruits straight up explode in your mouth. I could get sexual with this, but I am not going to. But just know I could get sexual with this, and that you could also get sexual with this. It's a sexy wine! 

I feel like this would be a fun third date wine. I've only been on one third date ever and that was six years ago, but had I been drinking such bomb wine six years ago, I definitely would have pulled this out and been like, "Heyyyyyyyy. [wiiiink]" It's very flirty wine; friendly and quick, with light-hearted bitterness. "Une Tranche Fine" will make you smile and tug at the nape of your neck while you try not to fall in love. 

I just don't see how you're not going to bone after drinking this! It's too delicious and fun! It's like a carnival date!

Like a cool carnival, not a Dateline "Whyyy'd my baby get murdered?!" carnival.

Tasting Notes: Vibrant on the bouquet and the palate, with tons of energized cherry, cranberry, and sour rose petals. I need one or ten more bottles STAT. 

Ross Test: GOD DAMNED DELIGHTFUL AND PERFECT, FUCK A GLASS

Domaine Bordenave Juraçon Sec 'Terres de Memoire'

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Domaine Bordenave Juraçon Sec 'Terres de Memoire'
Varietal: Gros Manseng
Region: Sud-Ouest, France
Year: 2013
Price: $19.99
Retailer: DomaineLA 

Even when I go into a wine shop with an idea of what wine I want to buy, I am always looking for what I didn't know I would buy. I've never had a gros manseng before now, and god damn is this one delicious. There is a chance I would have never had it had I not asked Dylan at Domaine, "What's new? What should I drink?"

And that's why you need to buy wine at wine shops and not grocery stores, and that's why you should never be afraid of not knowing what the hell you're doing. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it is the crux of drinking wine. 

So now we're drinking gros manseng. What the fuck is gros manseng? Well, it's a white grape from Southern France. And the way that Domaine Bordenave is using it, well, it tastes like what I imagine it would taste like licking Brigitte Bardot's thigh after she climbs out of the Côte d'Azur. Blonde, salty, sticky, and totally sexy. 

It's "Moi Je Joue" even though I've poured through my entire collection of Bardot trying to find a less cliche reference, but hey, sometimes hits are hits for a reason. 

Exciting, enticing, and delightfully impish while still maintaining a firm grasp of rounded restraint. Even though this is a pop song, it is not sung by a young scampy Swift type. It has a certain weight to it, the kind of discipline only a woman knows. 

Or perhaps that is simply Bardot's vocal range.

Whatever; it's beautiful and playful and buxom and powerful and DELICIOUS. I would, and DAMN WELL WILL, play cheek to cheek with this acerbic lover all night. Tart, medium bodied, great chilled but also delicious a touch warm. LIKE I SAID, IT'S BARDOT'S SALTY THIGH. COLD AND WET, OR MAYBE A LITTLE WARM AFTER LOUNGING ON A DECK. WITH A WAFT OF HER PERFECT 60'S POUF THAT IS ALSO SALTY AND PERFECT. YOU KNOW SHE IS ONE OF THOSE BITCHES WHOSE HAIR SOMEHOW LOOKS AMAZING AFTER DIVING OFF A YACHT. UGH. 

Excuse me, I mean... LE SIGH.

"Moi Je Joue" to "La Madrague" real quick. I'm off to romantic dreaming now... which should tell you what kind of drunk this is... just, lovely. 

Tasting Notes: Pissy color and smells like alcoholic pistachios. Sour, with lots of pineapple and lime notes. A light but lasting finish that may or not have a hint of acid reflex. Despite possible health indications, I will be drinking this whole bottle because it's so god damn good. 

Ross Test: Great if you love chugging Sour Patch kids (which I do).

Mushy Love Stuff & Jean Foillard Morgon "Côte du Py"

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I had planned to do a big post on Fourth of July, the party we threw, and the wines that I served as well as wines that were brought. But all that went out the window on Friday. 

Friday was my sixth anniversary with Ben.
And as Ice Cube would say, it was a good day.

We've been inseparable since 2009, when he met me and was a dick because his friends had told him he would fall in love with me, and he had just moved to LA and gotten out of a relationship and wanted nothing to do with me. No one had ever told me about him though, so when we met, I was bummed because he was cute, but was mostly like, "Whatever, that dude is a dick." Later that night, a guy I didn't know was married with kids was hitting on me. Ben saw it, and said he became oddly protective and jealous, because everyone had told him I was the girl he was going to fall in love with. He awkwardly whisked me away from the married guy to the roof, and we awkwardly looked at the view. We left the roof, awkwardly, but hung out the rest of the night, talking about bands we couldn't believe the other one listened to too and laughing about how horrible my outfit was.

(Seriously, it was the worst outfit of my life: boot-cut suit pants, a raglan sweater, and pumps. It was laundry day, and I was extremely hungover, and I really, really did not give any fucks because at the time, I really, really did not care about dudes [until I was at a party in half a BCBG suit with a hot dude who listened to Olivia Tremor Control].)

Since then, we've been through thick and thin. We've had the most fun, and we've seen each other through some of the hardest times we will probably ever have. If you've ever had the pleasure of meeting Ben, you know first hand what a wonderful person he is. It is hard to find someone so funny, quick witted and smart who is also so genuine, selfless and virtuous, with unlimited kindness and loyalty. He is the best friend anyone could ever ask for. I truly could not be who I am today without him. 

Part of me feels like we will always be those silly drunk twenty-three year olds flirting on the streets of Echo Park on a hot Sunday afternoon. And another part of me feels like we have always been who we are now: a team of love, friendship and support working towards personal and shared dreams, rampant happiness and a deeply fulfilling future. 

And eating and drinking very well while we're at it. 
Because we fucking love that shit!
It's important to get with people with similar interests!

The night of our engagement, Ben had reservations at A.O.C., one of the best spots for wine and food in Los Angeles. I hadn't been since they moved locations, and was really excited to be going back. I immediately wanted a Morgon.

Morgon is a cru of Beaujolais, which you probably have realized is one of my favorite wine regions. Morgons are like most Beaujolais wines in that they have lighter, tarter features but they are aged longer, creating more Burgundy qualities. 

They only had one Morgon on the menu, and I was delighted to see it was a Jean Foillard "Côte du Py". First of all, Foillard is one of the premier French winemakers and one of the organic wine community's greatest crusaders. Secondly, Côte du Py is basically like, the Mount Olympus of Morgon. It's only a hillside, but it produces Morgon's best wines that, as far as I am concerned, are actually made by gods. I mean, they sure as hell taste like it! 

And then to top it all off, it's imported by Kermit Lynch.

IMPORTANT: Anything imported by Kermit Lynch is gold.

The Foillard "Côte du Py" is to die for. Its texture is straight silk, and its palate plump with plum and gritty cherries. Earthy and fuller bodied, this wine tastes like my youthful, fun, everyday-drinking gamay grew up and got engaged.

Quite fitting to say the least. 

Definitely check out this wine, especially with eating. It has a bit more meat on it so it feels more like a dinner wine. And it's extremely food friendly. We had five courses ranging from cheese & charcuterie to pappardelle to Spanish fried chicken, and it worked flawlessly with each dish.

Speaking of Spanish fried chicken, definitely have it at A.O.C. and get lost in their incredible wine list. So many natural and organic gems to explore!

Un Saumon Dans la Loire 'La Boutanche' Rosé

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Un Saumon Dans la Loire 'La Boutanche' Rosé
Price: $16
Region: Loire
Retailer: DomaineLA

I didn't mean to review another rosé. But when the homie Corey Cartwright of Selection Massale pulled out a bottle of 'La Boutanche' rosé at lunch, there was no way I wasn't reviewing it. I'm a huge fan of the Un Saumon Dans la Loire 'La Boutanche' series. They are all well crafted, easy drinkers at reasonable prices. I couldn't not talk about this wine. 

Especially considering my best bro Ryan Ellis came through with IF YOU'RE READING THIS IT'S TOO LATE ON FUCKING VINYL. ILLEGAL GERMAN VINYL. BLACK MARKET CLEAR VINYL. THIS IS DRUGS TO ME. LIKE I FREAKED OUT WILDER THAN IF HE HAD JUST STRAIGHT UP RUBBED MILEY CYRUS' MOLLY ON MY GUMS.

I didn't mean to be listening to Drake and drinking rosé again, but, that's just the way shit happened to go.  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

The 'La Boutanche' rosé is gamay based, so you know I'm tripping on this shit. Tastes like a cherry Starburst and has me feeling like I'm the one again. It's the color of the red lights in any number of Brooklyn bars I've been wasted in and never knew the names of. 

Also cranberry juice, but that is not very evocative.

Like, I don't care about a wine that looks like fucking cranberry juice. I care about wines that remind me of the six years I've been vacationally drinking in the bowels of Williamsburg, having the time of my twenties, throwing shows at now defunct bars (RIP Bruar Falls), watching my homies' bands blow up, and homies' bands dissipate, eating at Five Leaves every time I come through no matter the company, throwing rap and Nirvana on a jukebox in the same breath and talking about Blink 182 until 6AM.

THAT IS THE SHIT WINE SHOULD MAKE YOU FEEL.
CRANBERRY JUICE DOES NOT REMIND YOU OF YOUR WOES.

This wine is so good because it is so fucking youthful. It's bright and vibrant and makes me want to travel and party and pass out on your floor. I want to pop it like a pack of Skittles I finish in 36 seconds, even though I promised myself it would last me the whole flight. I don't have will power with anything pleasurable because I'm a hedonist with a guilty conscience. Like this bottle should last me more than an hour, but it can't because it feels too good to drink it all and listen to Drake and daydream about all the things I did and haven't done yet.

I don't feel like I'm getting old, but I kinda am.
But also: who the fuck cares?
I'll always have my memories, my rosé, and my illegal Drake vinyl. 

Some nights I wish I could go back in life.
Not to change shit, just to feel a couple things twice.

Tasting Notes: I like this more after it has time to open, and is not super cold. Much better at a chilly room temp. Cherry and herbal on the nose, tart cherry candy on the palate. In love with the mouthfeel with this one. Lingering but light, feels like a Helmut Lang tee for my tongue. Refreshing and delightful, if you like cherry Sour Punch Straws, which I happen TO FUCKING LOOOOVVVVEE.

Ross Test: Better in a glass but doable. 

Pépière La Pépie Côt

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Last night at Silverlake Wine, one of the owners suggested I try this. It being from Loire and a reasonable $16.50, I said YES OF COURSE. Turns out that Côts are what the Loire calls Malbecs, and that they are delectably fun. Unlike the deep flavors of Argentinian Malbecs, Côts are light and energized easy drinkers. Fruity and poppy, this is a perfect party wine and I'm excited to keep it in stock this summer. It's going to be irresistible slightly chilled at dusk in July.

Kezako Cab Franc, Track Suits & Getting Older

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Sebastien David "Kenzako" Cab Franc
Price: $31.99
Region: Loire, France
Year: 2012
Retailer: DomaineLA

Tomorrow is my birthday. This is the first year I'm not throwing myself a big birthday party, and it's something I am cool with. Usually I need a big birthday party because I have to feed the monster that those who are close to me know is my ego, but this year, I just don't care. Or I'm too tired to care. I can't tell. Too much work and wine and uppers in the last month to give much of a shit about anything besides chilling out.

Hence my new tracksuit look.
It's a new year and a new style, but still the same old, "YO THERE IS NOTHING THAT MEANS MORE TO ME THAN CHILLING COMFORTABLY TOPLESS WITH MY WINE." 

Shout out to my new sponsors, Adidas. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm still doing lunch tomorrow and dinner tomorrow and going to Napa for four days. But that's a very adult birthday. This is the most adult birthday I've had in my whole life, which makes sense since this is the most adult I've ever been.

And this is a very adult wine for me to just be chugging alone in a tracksuit. I mean, it was $31.99. I don't go around buying wines that expensive for every day chugging, but fuck it, I'm going to be old tomorrow so GOTTA LIVE IT UP. TITTIES OUT. CAB FRANC IN MY MOUTH.

I love this wine. It tastes like I'm an adult.
Which I am.
Officially.
[weeps]

I am cool with it, really. The other night after a lot of wine, weed and other things, I laid in bed on cloud nine, thinking about how I'm definitely the most stressed I've ever been, but I'm also the closet to getting what I want in life than I've ever been. And that's why getting older is pretty cool. Suddenly the things you have been working towards on are the horizon, and not just in your dreams.

And you have track suits.
And kinda expensive natural French wines.
And still write with pieces of your childhood stuffed rabbit clutched in your hands because no matter how many track suits you own or how many wines you drink you are still an emotionally stunted and scared human trying to make something of herself. Which is always good to know. 

Anyway, this wine is really good. Birthdays are cool. Adidas is tight, thanks for sending me dope shit. I love Bun-Bun (suck it, Dad, yeah I've still got it, nice try trying to get me to throw it out when I was 10 HA HAAAA!).

Time to clean my house and get back to work and forget that birthdays are even a thing because there's way too much other shit to deal with than me being a year older. HA HAAAAA CAUSE I'M SUCH A GOD DAMN ADULT I'M SUCH AN ADULT MAN IT'S CRAZY I'M SO ADULTISH THIS IS WHY ALL MY FRIENDS ARE GETTING MARRIED AND HAVING KIDS AND I'M LIKE WHYYYY LOL IT'S CAUSE I'M GOING TO BE OLD TOMORROW! AND NOT THIRTY OLD. I'M NOT THIRTY YET. JUST ALMOST. BUT I MEAN IT'S COOL. AND EVEN THIRTY IS GONNA BE COOL. EVERYTHING IS VERY COOL. WE'RE COOL. I'M COOL GUYS.

Alright I just expelled all my energy caring for five seconds and now I don't care again. 

Such an adult! 

Tasting Notes: This wine is so good. Very much worth $31.99. It's got that natty freshness ya'all know I can't get enough of. The color is a deepening purple, like a very dark sea. It smells like fresh blackberries, anise, and a little ashy. The palate is super refreshing and poppy, with lots of raspberry and pepper, and a hint of my own tears.

Ross Test: I Ross Tested HALF THE BOTTLE. I only got a glass because I was like, "Oh, it'd be irresponsible of me not to at least try it in a glass." Enough said.

Vincent Caillé 'La Part Du Colibri' Gamay

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Vincent Caillé 'La Part du Colibri' Gamay
Price: $11.99
Region: Loire Valley, France
Year: 2013
Retailer: DomaineLA 

Ah, my affair with Gamays continue. I just can't quit these fuckers. 

I love this Gamay because it's meeting in the middle between the girl I was and the woman I've become. It's a fancy French wine, but on a budget. I remember the first time I bought $12 wine. I won't name names, but I remember not being that impressed with it in comparison to the $3 - $6 I was drinking.

Well, this is a huge difference. There is such a huge difference between a large producers $12 and small producers $12. It's like comparing Kraft cheese to Tillamook.

Tillamook is still a larger producer.
But their Sharp Cheddar is BOMB AS HELL, so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
(Plus it's still in the relative price range, ya dig? Can't be telling you to give up shredded bags for Hooks ten year aged, now can I?)

The fucking point is, this wine is delicious and a steal. It's lively and lovely and will please both eccentric red wine lovers and light red wine lovers alike. 

I have to go because it's Friday and my friends are here and I've been working all week on a sample chapter for my book that I finished last night-- yes, my book you read that correctly, very exciting stuff, sorry that's why I haven't been around, thank you to everyone who has been a supporter + fuck you to the commenter who said I talked like I was twelve last week, seriously suck my dick-- SO. THIS IS MY TIME TO CHILL. WHICH YOU ALL KNOW I VALUE AND RELISH IN. 

I HOPE YOU TAKE A BOTTLE OF VINCENT CALLIE TO CHILL WITH YOU NEXT TIME YOU CHILL CAUSE I FEEL LIKE THIS IS GOING TO BE A VERY CHILL CHILL. LIKE THE CHILLEST. LOOK AT ME. I LOOK LIKE SOMEONE YOUR DAD BEFRIENDED AT THE BAR ON A CRUISE SHIP AND GAVE YOUR BEDROOM AWAY TO WHILE THEY "GET BACK ON THEIR FEET".

Which is true.
You're never getting your bedroom back.
It's mine now.
Your dad and I and Vincent Caillé Gamay are all best friends now.
100% not sorry. xoxoox

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Tasting Notes: Gorgeous garnet color, like seriously? Someone get me some earrings made of this shit. The bouquet is super fresh, like wet lemongrass and rosemary tanning in the summer sun. The palate is bright, with lots of blackberries and lavender. I kinda want a candle of this. But it does not taste like a candle. Except maybe it does cause I own some expensive ass candles I'd definitely be down to drink.

Ross Test: Very good. A little acidic on the back end, but still, very good.