Poking around the house for a low alcohol wine – I’ve got a long flight tomorrow and couldn’t deal with a 15.8% monster from the likes of Michel Rolland – I happened across this one, another Kermit Lynch import. Only 12%, biodynamic, amusing label, crappy plastic cork. Sounds fun!
Appealing soft purple – you know, for kids! – the wine’s visually stunning. On the nose, fairly typical Loire red with that tell-tale minerality, but with somewhat more fruit than I’ve come to expect. Drinking some’s a pleasure, with full, rustic tannins nicely set off by what seems to me to be riper fruit than anyone would have a right to expect at this price point. The only tip-off that this is not especially expensive is that the range of the experience of this wine is relatively narrow, staying relatively the same from the attack to the sostenuto. In short, what you have here is a wine that’s best enjoyed in a very linear, La Monte Young fashion. What you get is very, very pretty – and yet that’s all you get. Still, when the music’s this good, why complain?
Closure: Synthetic cork
All signs point to vin de terroir: little bits of unidentified crud on the cork, cheap glass, a label that looks like it was generated with Broderbund Print Shop circa 1992, and a Kermit Lynch importer’s sticker on the back.
Sure enough, the wine is noticeably light in color in the glass, and it doesn’t smell like a New World wine at all. There’s sort of a sweet, smoky, summer sausage smell (sorry for the alliteration, it just came out that way) here, balanced out with dusty closet and violets. In terms of feel, the wine is light in the mouth, fairly tannic, and leaves behind a noticeable whack of unresolved tannins; it’s presumably best eaten with something meaty to balance out the tannin. It’s not unpleasant, though; I remember the very first wines I ever tried as being somewhat similar.
Being a Californian, is it just possible that I’ve grown up with wines designed for American consumers? That is, wines that are designed to be as innocuous as possible? The surprise tannin onslaught is kind of enjoyable; it leaves a pleasant tobacco leaf taste behind, and it’s a nice change from the usual fruit bomb effect that leaves you with nothing but a hangover the next morning.
Over time, I came to the conclusion that this doesn’t taste like any wine I know of, and that’s a wonderful thing. I have no idea if this is typical for Bourgeuil; I’ve never had it before (only Chinon). Plus, at this price, c’mon, there are a million boring Californian wines for fifteen bucks out there – why not try something radically different for a change?
Domaine de la Chanteleuserie
Price: US $14.99
Date tasted: June 2008