Tag Archives: Loire

Wine to drink during rolling power blackouts

power blackouts
The idea is to have cheap wine in the house so you don’t have to drive in this mess to buy cheap wine to drink during rolling power blackouts.

Three wines to drink during Texas’ rolling power blackouts — because that’s when you really need quality cheap wine

The weather in Dallas for the past 10 days has been exceptional – record, almost sub-zero cold and more snow in a couple of days than we usually get in a couple of years. As such, we’ve had rolling power blackouts thanks to the unprecedented electrical demand. Here at Wine Curmudgeon World Headquarters in Dallas, the power went off eight times between Sunday and Wednesday — and I was luckier than most, who didn’t have any power at all. And a friend in suburban Arlington lost water, and had to use snow to flush the toilet.

Fortunately, I have lots of sweaters, as well as flashlights positioned around the house. Churro, the blog’s associate editor, showed grace under pressure — he barely objected when I wiped his feet off after a trip outside.

The situation raises two questions: First, how did the state’s grid operator get in this mess, which isn’t really in the purview of the blog (though I have had long experience with Texas’ electricity ineptness). Second, what wine to drink during rolling power blackouts?

Fortunately, the WC has the second one covered:

Grunhaus Maximin Riesling 2017 ($15, purchased, 11%): One more very pleasant German riesling surprise – sort of sweet, lemony, almost sparkly. It’s not complicated, but it is German in style. Highly recommended. Imported by Loosen Bros. USA

Fantini Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2018 ($10, purchased, 13.5%): This vintage of an always dependable Italian red blend is a touch more interesting – a little earthier, more intriguing cherry fruit, and a little more complex. Just the thing for my mom’s spaghetti and meatballs, and especially when it’s snowing outside. Imported by Empson USA

Marquis de la Tour Brut NV ($10, purchased, 11%): This French bubbly from the Loire, made in the charmat style, is soft, a little sweet (honey?), with tight bubbles and lemon and apple fruit. Very nicely done, and especially for the price. Imported by Palm Bay International

More about wine and weather:
Porch wine for the long, hot summer
Wine to drink when the electricity goes out – yet again
Wine to drink when the air conditioner is replaced

Photo courtesy of Dallas Morning News

Mini-reviews 93: Barefoot bubbly, red Loire, Ridge, red Cahors

Barefoot bubblyReviews of wines that don’t need their own post, but are worth noting for one reason or another. Look for it on the final Friday of each month

Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvee NV ($10, sample, 11.5%): One of the most frustrating things about reviewing wine is consistency of the product. I’ve written glowing reviews of this wine, but when I tasted the most recent sample, it was almost flat and devoid of flavor and character. Is this a flaw with this specific bottle of wine? Is it a problem with the current “vintage?” Or is it a problem in the supply chain, where the wine sat in a warehouse or delivery truck? I think the last, since I’ve had this problem with sparkling wine from many producers at many prices over the past 18 months. This is one of the disadvantages of non-vintage ones; you don’t know how long it has been sitting and getting worse.

Domaine de la Chanteleuserie Cuvée Alouettes ($17, purchased, 12%): This red wine, from the French region of Loire, is an excellent example of what the Loire can do with cabernet franc – red berry fruit, freshness, graphite, spice, and length. It’s clean through the palate with surprisingly soft tannins. Highly recommended.

Ridge Geyserville 2014 ($35, purchased, 14.5%): This California zinfandel red blend isn’t anywhere near ready to drink, and needs at least another year (if not longer). Until then, look for ripe black fruit and a lot less of the style and elegance that Ridge is known for.

Château Lafleur de Haute-Serre 2014 ($10, purchased, 13%): This French red, made with malbec from the Cahors region, is not what I’d hoped given that it’s from Georges Vigouroux, a fine producer. It’s just ordinary, 1970s style wine with too much unripe fruit and a rusticity that isn’t as much charming as annoying.

Wine review: Domaine de Chevaunet Touraine 2010

In the old days, sauvignon blanc from the Loire region of France was among the best sauvignon blanc in the world. It was the original anti-chardonnay: crisp, fresh, minerally, and not much fruit. Then the modern wine business happened, and Loire's wines became, if not irrelevant, a lot less important. New Zealand became the predominant sauvignon blanc region, and the rest of the world mostly copied what New Zealand was doing.

This always depressed the Wine Curmudgeon; as much as I like New Zealand's wines, I miss the old style Loire whites. Some of them are still around, of course, but they cost $30 and often difficult to find. The less expensive ones, if not complete knockoffs of New Zealand's grapefruit style, have still morphed into something they never used to be.

That's the dilemma I found myself in with the Chevaunet ($10, purchased). There is nothing wrong with it — clean, well made, pleasing and refreshing. It's nice by itself, and shines as a food wine, especially with some shrimp marinated in olive oil and garlic. But there is too much grapefruit and lime fruit and not enough minerality to mark it as traditional Loire wine. So I'll keep looking for Loire the way I remember it, and let you make your own judgments about this.