Screaming Good Deal – Seigneurie de Peyrat Classique Blanc 2010

I pride myself in locating (or constantly trying to locate) high quality wines that deliver good value.   Often I feel a certain sense of accomplishment when I locate these wines and share them with others so that everyone can enjoy a quality wine at a good price.   In the case of the lovely Seigneurie de Peyrat Classique Blanc 2010 (PLCB code: 32430 $7.99), I can take no credit whatsoever – this wine was suggested to me by not just one, but TWO of my good friends on separate occasions.   Since I typically agree with their palates and wine opinions, I had to try this white.   This is a very nice wine and a good value to boot!   The blend of Colombard and Vermentino initially struck me as unusual since Vermentino is typically an Italian grape and Colombard is typically grown in Southern France (incidentally it is the main grape used for Cognac as well).   But then I discovered that Vermentino is actually quite common in Southern France under the original French name of “French Rolle”, and nowadays the Italian name of Vermentino is generally in use.   With that bit of knowledge combined with the facts that both grapes thrive in hot growing conditions, and both have complimentary characteristics, the combination actually makes sense – and in this case works well.   Seigneurie de Payrat is located in the Southern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon, a region famous for producing vast amounts of good quality table wines and a few special ones.   For comparison, Languedoc-Roussillon is covered by three times as many vineyards as the more famous Bordeaux region, so it should not surprise us that a nice wine like this should reach our shores.   After pouring the white, I notice the nose is floral with some elements of peach and citrus.   Pouring white wines ice cold is a common practice (and a good one in many cases) but the Peyrat Blanc benefits from a moment or two in the glass warming up a few degrees – as the wine warms slightly the aromatics open up and make the wine more interesting and complex.   All of this contributes to displaying the peach and floral fruit flavors with a lush mouth feel, and finishes with a touch of citrus flavors and grip.   This wine is a solid, flavorful table white that can be sipped alone, or combined with food – we should all have on hand for the summer months!

Wine and Cheese Suggestion:  David B. is one of the friends who originally suggested this wine to me.   His friends often refer to him as a ‘cheese-ist’, ‘cheeseologist’, ‘cheese-aholic’ and other fun names…   Undeterred by our teasing, David featured this Peyrat Classique Blanc in a wine and cheese tasting and reports that many people found the cheese (Lou Bergier Pichin, a creamy cheese described as French cheese made in Italy using Portuguese techniques) and Seigneurie de Peyrat Classique Blanc to be their favorite combination of the event.   I am now on a mission to find the cheese and try it with Seigneurie de Peyrat Classique Blanc 2010 – hope you will try it too!

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Dry German Riesling from Dr. Loosen: ‘Red Slate’ Riesling Mosel Saar Ruwer Estate 2010

In the United States, many Rieslings – especially those from Germany – are expected to be sweet or at least off-dry, because over many years this sweeter style has proved popular to the American Palate.   However, despite the popularity of sweeter Riesling styles here, there are a great many dry Riesling wines made in Germany that are reasonably priced and available here.   The Dr. Loosen : ‘Red Slate’ Riesling hails from the heart of the famous Mosel Region, not far from the borders with Luxemburg and Belgium.   Planted on treacherously steep south-facing hillsides, the vines are afforded long days of sun exposure which assists in ripening the grapes in what would otherwise be a cool and difficult climate.   But aided by the increased sun exposure and a general warming trend in temperatures, Dr. Loosen finds that grapes can stay longer on the vine than in the past and this allows the grapes greater sugar levels (which aids fermentation) and greater flavor complexity in the end product.   Additionally, the iron-rich, red slate soils in which the vines are planted (which also give the wine its name ‘Red Slate’) are said to add a dense, muscular minerality to the finished wine.    The 2010 Red Slate Riesling shows a slightly richer color compared to other dry Rieslings I have tried – actually more reminiscent of the sweeter variety, but color is not always an indicator of flavor.   The nose is subdued, but included some light floral notes and pineapple hints.   Flavors are smooth in arrival and centered around a blending of lime, baked apple, peach and mineral with a slight hint of raspberry in a package that is lighter than the color suggests and includes a very slight spritziness at first sip, ending with a spicy finish that endures – very refreshing indeed.   This Riesling is not as mouth-puckering dry as some examples, but it is clearly dry and has more body than many of the type, which could make this a great accompaniment to meaty fish (a pan seared Arctic Char for instance) or even Chinese takeout – I intend to try these pairings as soon as possible!  (Dr Loosen ‘Red Slate’ Riesling Mosel Saar Ruwer Estate 2010 PLCB 39086 $13.99)

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