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MWG October 3rd tasting (3/7): Three eccentric whites

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Vin de Sologne 2011, Quartz, Domaine Claude Courtois ($34.50, La QV, 6 bottles/case)
For background on the estate and winemaker, see my note for the 2009 Quartz. Sauvignon Blanc from organically farmed (though uncertified as such) vines, some of which are ungrafted. Manually harvested, destemmed and gently pressed. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured in oak barrels for 12 to 24 months. 11.8% ABV.
Courtois’s wines can vary significantly from vintage to vintage, and this is one of the most radical Quartzes yet. The resinous note that sometimes marks the wine’s bouquet here dominates, putting one in mind more of turpentine than pine needles, though not to the exclusion of apple, pear, distant greenery and quartz dust. In the mouth, the wine is intense but not fruity, packed with minerals and rife with acid yet somehow smooth and fluid. The finish is clean and long. A wine that makes you sit up and take notice. Weird? Yes. But also loveable in its oddball way. Would like to see how this evolves. (Buy again? The contrarian in me says yes.)

Penedès 2012, Capficat, Xarel·lo, Celler Credo ($45.75, La QV, 6 bottles/case)
100% organically and biodynamically farmed Xarel·lo, a grape variety normally used to make cava, from an eight-hectare vineyard planted in 1940. Manually harvested. Fermented (with indigenous yeasts) and matured for one month in oak barrels. Unfiltered, unfined and with no added sulphur. 660 bottles made. 13% ABV. In Catalan, a cap ficat is “a branch that’s burled – without being cut from the stump it grows from – and gives life to a new vine.”
Astounding nose: animale, chalk and rotting peach against a backdrop of honey and brown sugar with a grinding of white pepper. Lighter than expected in the mouth: fresh and minerally, layered and long, with sweet but unheavy fruit and an underlying sourness. Long. Pricey but fascinating. (Buy again? The curiosity lover in me says yes.)

Colli Tortonesi bianco 2010, Montesoro, Valli Unite ($27.75, La QV, 6 bottles/case)
A blend of Timorasso, Favorita and Chasselas (though one site claims it’s 100% Timorasso). Manually harvested. Fermented with selected yeasts. Matured on the fine lees for one year. Sees only stainless steel. A minimal amount (3 g/hl) of sulphur dioxide is used and only post-fermentation. 3,000 bottles made. 14% ABV.
The nose’s crushed seashells are joined by faintly oxidized and candied yellow fruit, hints of meadow and an anise note. Rich and layered in the mouth, evocative of browning sour apple. Not thirst-quenching but with sufficient acidity, not to mention crunchy minerals, and a long, bitter-edged finish. (Buy again? The gastronome in me says yes.)

Written by carswell

October 11, 2013 at 15:06

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