Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Let the wine breathe for four days before you serve it.

Domaine de la Pinte, I take my hat off to you. Partially because this wine was so fantastic and, more importantly, I look bad in hats.

Domaine de la Pinte can be found in the village of Arbois in the region of Jura in eastern France, and though I'm not sure exactly how long they've been operating, I think they have a good bit of tradition going on at the winery. It tastes, and sounds, like traditional techniques with some organic (as of '99) and biodynamic certification (as of '09) going on.

The wine in the photo above is the current release of their savagnin, and yes, the current release is from 2005. Savagnin is a grape unique to Jura, and as far as I know, is really only grown and vinified there (excluding any clones or mutations, I'm looking at you gewurtztraminer!) It is used in a local wine called Vin Jaune that is reminiscent of some sherries because of the layer of 'flor' yeast that appears in production.

Often in Jura, wines are oxidative by design. It's important to differentiate oxidized wine by design and oxidized wine as a fault. Domaine de la Pinte puts their savagnin in barrels for four years and only fills said barrels 80% of the way. One might ask, what, why, who, why, what? But this production method fosters that flor yeast, and if you've ever tasted Manzanilla sherry you will have an idea of some of the aromas and flavors that appear. There is also a nuttiness, something almost saline, more apple than citrus flavors amongst other things.

This is wine oxidized by design, a layer of flor on the wine in barrel protects the wine from being destroyed and lends a host of flavors and aromas that add to the complexity. The result is a wine with great structure, longevity, focused acidity, and just a whole heaping pile of interesting flavors and aromas that would only be lost if I tried to explain them. Sometimes I don't even think it's worth it to try and convey some of these sensory experiences when all I want to say is, "holy crap this wine is good!"

This is another one of those extra-traditional wines that really show that ol' genius of place. It takes a skillful hand to make a wine like this, and I say this because we've had it open in the kegerator at the store where we've been going back and revisiting it every day to see how it develops; this is day 4 and it's still fantastic. I think day three may have been the best, but even that's up for debate.

Their chardonnay is very good too, classic Jura style chardonnay, but it's a 2010 release. I don't want to diminish the chard, but next to the savagnin, few wines stand up. The chardonnay too was in barrel, mind you very old barrels, for 2 years before release, but it didn't see as much (if any) of the flor that the savagnin did. The flavors are more apple with hints of spice and a super focused vein of acidity that would be awesome with anything in a mushroom cream sauce.

Considering they're $35 for the savagnin and $25 for the chard, these are some fantastic wines that could be cellared for years and I think are a downright steal compared to some other wines on the market. Just one man's opinion... on how freakin' cool Jura (Jurassian, Jurassic, Juranese?) wines are.

No comments:

Post a Comment