no collar polo shirts Languedoc region has great potential
It isn’t hard to find Olivier Dauga in a crowd. Amid the suit coats, ties, and polo shirts, he’s the dude with the wild shirt, bluejeans, colorful glasses and a pair of shoes that leaves one speechless. Modest, he’s not. Self confident and knowledgeable, he is.
Talk about a shoe fetish. Dauga owns so many 62 pair, he admits he reserves one suitcase just for them when he travels.
When he’s not shopping for shoes, Dauga is advising about 20 French clients how to make wine. As a consultant, he often comes to a failing operation, analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of the terroir and puts the producer on track with new wines. These wines are usually reasonably priced and satisfy wine enthusiasts with a sense of adventure. A former rugby player, Dauga is competitive and usually gets his way or loses a client.
His company has been known as Val d’Orbieu, but the day we tasted his wines, it was announced that he had merged with a competitor and the company would be called Vinadeis. Collectively, they manage 2,000 wine growers in Bordeaux, Languedoc Roussillon, Corbieres, Minervois and other regions of southern France.
As mentioned in last week’s column, the Portuguese are most well known for their production of high quality red and white Port dessert wines. However, the Portuguese have produced red, white and ros table wines for centuries.
Most of wines were mediocre until the mid 1990s when an infusion of.
(Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr)
As a lot, they are well balanced and not overly extracted with moderate alcohol levels and little oak flavors.
Here are several red wines we liked in the tasting:
Chateau de Jonquieres Cuvee Eole 2012. ($22). A blend of grenace and syrah, this wine from Corbieres has rich, extracted dark berry fruit flavors, a good dose of licorice and sweet tannins.
Domaine Cazelles Verdier Les Pierres Qui Chantent 2013 ($22). This had very broad flavors from a Minervois blend of syrah,
Grenache, mourvedre and carignan. It had ripe notes of blackberry and plum fruit with a hint of spice and easy tannins.
Pinot grigios are popular because of their abundant fruit flavors and a ripe profile that can include some residual sugar. Often dominated by a peach or apricot character, these wines make refreshing aperitifs and can be matched with grilled chicken, salads, fruit and a variety of other simple.
(Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr)
Chateau Les Combes Merlot 2012 ($35). This merlot comes from the Saint Emilion region of Bordeaux. Made entirely from merlot, the full bodied wine explodes with beautiful black fruit flavors and hints of chocolate and sweet vanillin oak.
Chateau Vieille Dynastie LaLande de Pomerol 2012 ($38). This satellite region offers some of the best deals in Bordeaux, although sometimes it’s like looking for a needle in a haystack. We liked this blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. There are serious tannins, but generous flavors, herbal notes and good balance.
J. Lohr Estates Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 ($35). This reasonably priced, effusive cab has extracted and ripe plum flavors with a dose of dark chocolate and a velvet texture. It is juicy and new World in style.
Tascante Buonora 2013 ($20). We loved this expressive and unique Sicilian wine made with carricante grapes. It’s bright acidity, floral nose and clean, mineral and citrus notes make it a great match for seafood.
Fulcrum Landy Vineyard Petite Sirah 2012 ($45). The producer of some terrific Anderson Valley pinot noirs has applied his talents to the debut vintage of a Russian River Valley petite sirah. Not always appreciated because of its tannic nature, petite sirah is a serious wine. In Fulcrum’s hands, it’s also a friendly petite sirah with varietal blackberry flavors and a hint of licorice.
Franciscan Estate Cuvee Sauvage 2013 ($40). We have raved about this unique chardonnay year after year. Using wild yeasts (“sauvage”), a winemaker never knows what he’ll get. But in this case the winemaker manages to get a rich, expressive wine with lemon and apple notes with toasty oak.
Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc 2013 ($40). Mondavi shows that sauvignon blanc doesn’t have to be a simple, insipid white wine. Its fume blanc, blended with 11 percent semillon, is a contrast between crisp acidity and silkiness very nice.
Rodney Strong Vineyards Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($17). Aromatic and tasty, this northern Sonoma sauvignon blanc has copious peach and pineapple flavors.
Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc 2014 ($25). The only white wine in the Cliff Lede portfolio, this sauvignon blanc is worthy of the money. With an expressive, floral nose, it maintains a balance of opulent citrus and grapefruit flavors with crisp acidity. A great summer aperitif or a good match to citrus based dishes.
Raptor Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Gris 2014 ($20). Richly textured, this Oregon pinot gris has oodles of pear and peach flavors with a hint of lime and mineral.
Murphy Goode Snake Eyes Zinfandel 2012 ($35). You won’t find a more juicy zinfandel to accompany those smoked ribs or grilled hamburgers. Perfect for the grilling season because of the jammy flavors, this zinfandel is packed with lively raspberry, blackberry fruit.