After remaining Covid free throughout all my recent travels, I finally succumbed this last weekend and spent four days in bed. True to itself, Covid is not the best thing for your palate, and so with a muted sense of taste and smell I had to tune into the pure feeling of the wines on my palate, and the sense of tension and balance in my mouth. It is super interesting when one sense you rely on is not available, and it allowed me to experience the wines during our tasting in a unique way. I was also so grateful to have Vanessa's great palate which I have learnt to trust implicitly over the last years.
The whole tasting brought to mind these lines from one of my favorite David Whyte poems, Just Beyond Yourself, which always reminds me to keep an open mind and explore things from different directions since it's so easy to bring your preconceptions to a tasting (especially when your palate isn't up to snuff).
Half a step
and the rest
(full poem here)
For those of you who have not heard of David, he is an internationally famous poet who works with people and companies all over the world inspiring insights into life through poetry. I absolutely recommend taking a look at his website (www.davidwhyte.com) and listening to him, especially as he recites and talks about his poetry in his dry Yorkshire accent. Robert Louis Stevenson did say that "wine is poetry in a bottle" and I do know David enjoys a good glass of wine.
Anyway, on to our wine picks for the week:
Jo Landron is one of my heroes. He is single minded in his pursuit of excellence through working with what nature gives him. You talk to Jo and you feel that he has almost sunk his own roots into his land as he tries to squeeze out its signature voice. His "vin de garde" Muscadet ‘Fief du Breil’ is the epitome of what he does. It come from his smallest and stoniest plot full of flint, river pebbles and granite. He farms it biodynamically and has a severe pruning regime to limit crop. It is south facing which means good ripeness all the way up in the chilly Loire Valley. The vines really seem to pull that gunpowdery flintiness and merge it into this deliciousness of candied grapefruit and lemon. This is a sophisticated glass of wine and would be a magical pairing with fish in a creamy mornay sauce, as well as scallops or monkfish.
Going south, we head way down to the Saint Joseph area of the Rhone Valley which is sandwiched between the famed Côte-Rôtie and Cornas below. It is a long sliver that covers the eastern side of the Rhone and is made up of almost 100% decomposed granite. The vineyards are terraced and steep, and the wines have that wonderful spice and crystalline nature that almost vibrates on the tongue. I love the dry finish, in fact it reminds me of licking a piece of granite (I know not something you do every day but, my goodness, it gives you such a view into where these flavours come from).With lovely redcurrant and pomegranate notes, a spicy minerality and clean granite quality, it will go with everything from a slow roasted pork loin to a cassoulet (here's a great cassoulet recipe if you are feeling inspired).
Walking around the cellar, I just wanted to call out a few of our seasonal favorites:
On the rosé front, the beautiful gem-colored Umathum Rosé was a highlight at our recent tasting here at the beach. Perfect for sipping in the sun.