Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Blancs de Provence

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IGP Méditerranée 2013, Viognier Sainte-Fleur, Triennes ($22.30, 12625681)
Triennes in the project of two well-known Burgundians (Jacques Seysses of Domaine Dujac and Aubert de Villaine of Domaine de la Romanée Conti) and a Paris-based friend. The estate is located in the Var, east of Aix-en-Provence, was founded in 1997 and began converting to organic farming in 2008 (the 2011 vintage of the Sainte-Fleur was the estate’s first certified organic wine). This 100% Viognier is fermented in temperature-controlled tanks and matured in tanks. Reducing sugar: 1.8 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: Séguin & Robillard.
Quartz dust and faint peach filigreed with honeysuckle, smoked salt and garrigue. Bordering on unctuous in the mouth, where it proves more of a fruit cocktail, albeit a dry and alcoholic one that’s freshened by smooth acidity and backdropped by sun-baked stones. A faint bitterness threads through the long finish. Not bad for an inexpensive Viognier – no one’s going to mistake it for a Condrieu – and pleasant enough to drink but not really memorable and not the bargain that the red is. Might well show better at the dining table than it does at the tasting table. (Buy again? Maybe.)

Bandol 2014, Domaine du Gros’Noré ($30.75, 12206989)
Despite what you’ll read on and on the Quebec agent’s website, this is a 70-30 blend of Ugni Blanc (aka Trebbiano) and Clairette from sustainably farmed vines averaging 30 years old. The must is macerated on the skins for 24 hours, then fermented at low temperatures with indigenous yeasts. Sees only stainless steel until bottling. Unfiltered and unfined. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Shy nose of quartz, wet ash, earth and white flowers. The rich texture is balanced by a steady stream of underlying acidity. Somewhat neutral in flavour yet somehow savoury and mouth-filling. Stones and lemon pith haunt the long finish. While this will never be an exuberant wine, it is a baby at this point and, as a second bottle showed, it doesn’t stop evolving for hours after opening. Definitely a food wine: I thought sea bass with pesto might make a good match but that second bottle was transporting with the winemaker’s recommended pairing of grilled mussels with rosemary, my recipe for which you’ll find after the jump. (Buy again? Done!)

MWG October 8th tasting: flight 2 of 7

Grilled Mussels with Rosemary
Moules au romarin

As this is one of the most elemental mussel preparations, the quality of the molluscs makes a huge difference. While the dish can be adapted to indoor cooking, cooking it on the grill produces the most flavourful result, one that will transport you to the Côte d’Azur. Any neutral dry white can be used for cooking but a Provençal or Corsican white is called for at the table.

Equipment: a charcoal or gas grill; 1 or more thin-bottomed metal pans, such as a cake pan, turkey roaster or deep-dish pie plate; and, if the pan doesn’t have a lid, aluminum foil.

Soak a small handful of mesquite wood chips in water for 1 hour. Prepare a hot charcoal fire. Meanwhile, rinse and beard 1 kg (2 lbs) fresh mussels. In the bottom of the pan, place 2 sprigs fresh rosemary and, if you don’t object to being untraditional, 90 g (1/2 cup) finely chopped onion. Arrange the mussels in the pan in a single layer and pour in 125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil.

When the fire is ready, place the pan on the grill, directly over and as close as possible to the embers. Close the grill’s cover and cook until the mussels open, about 5 minutes. Drain the mesquite chips and toss them onto the embers. Uncover the pan, close the grill’s cover and cook another 5 minutes. Transfer the mussels and their juices to a bowl, discarding any whose shells didn’t open, and season with freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

The mussel juices can be salvaged, strained, frozen and used as the basis for a seafood risotto. Any leftover mussels can be removed from their shells and refrigerated, ideally with some of the juice to keep them moist, for use in salads, omelets and risottos.

Yield: 1 large or 2 small servings.

Written by carswell

October 17, 2015 at 13:43

3 Responses

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  1. I grabbed two bottles of the Gros Noré with a 20% off at the SAQ on Ontario close to Pie IX. There are some left, with the rebate!

    The conseiller (whom I like a lot, he’s a nature wines freak and stocks Labet and Loire treasures) told me it’s ready to drink, but you seem to say it should way. Is it drinkable now or is it an infanticide?

    Monsieur Antoine

    January 26, 2016 at 18:50

    • At $24 a bottle, you got yourself a bargain, Monsieur Antoine. While, IMHO, the wine definitely has aging potential (at least five years, I’d wager), the bottle I opened with the mussels was just lovely after an hour or two’s carafing. So, now, immediate consumption is not infanticide. But since you’ve got a pair, why not pop the cork on one and see for yourself? And, if you act fast, you can snare another bottle or two at an unbeatable price should you want more or should, dog forbid, your bottle be corked.


      January 26, 2016 at 19:00

  2. […] it warmed and breathed. We have a winner. Try this with the winemaker’s recommended pairing: grilled mussels with rosemary (Buy again? […]

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