September 9, 2007

The COOLEST wine in a LONG, LONG time!

The coolest wine I’ve tasted in a LONG time!

Clos Uroulat Jurançon 2004 (France) $33.99

From the wine’s name - Jurançon to the obscure and remote area in France that is its home to the history of the area and winemaking there to the aromas and flavors of this wine – I just love this entire story, wine and the winery and winemaker!

This just ROCKS!

This is a Vin Moelleux – it’s lush, round, soft with moderate sweetness and nice acidity. The color is a deep, beautiful golden yellow. Flavors of almonds and tropical fruit. It starts sweet and it finishes dry and crisp – that’s one of the things I love about it! It has this richness and fullness the entire time you are tasting it and smelling it. It lasts and lingers. You don’t rush through this wine! You savor it!

Even if you CLAIM to not like sweeter wines, I DARE you to not enjoy this wine!

I showed this as part of a tasting I donated to the Coastal Maine Botanical Garden fundraising auction. The tasting was over Labor Day Weekend. Doug from SOPO had brought this by earlier in the week. As soon as I tasted it, I knew I was taking this to the tasting with me! It was the runaway hit of the evening – and everyone there was saying, “I don’t usually like sweet wines, but I LOVE this;” or, they were asking, “Do you have more of that unusual wine from France?”

The French poet Colette loved this wine – “When I was a teenager, I met a passionate prince, imperious traitor, like any great seducer, the Jurançon.”

This winery and region in Pau in the Pyrénées mountains is nearly in Spain. This area introduced the “Appellation Controllee” system to France – this is the system that determines whether an area is worthy of having a named “appellation” and it holds winemakers to the production standards traditional to that area. In the 14th century, The Princes of Béarn and the parliament of Navarre also introduced the concept of “Cru” to winemaking by identifying and valuing specific vineyards sites as being superior. Legend has it that a drop of Jurançon Moelleux wine moistened the lips of infant Henry IV at his baptism in 1553.

Charles Hours is the winemaker and owner. I look at Charles and he is just a man I want to share a meal with and drink his wine with the food of his home! The grape is Petite Manseng. The grapes partially dry on the vine – the same as is done with Sauternes. They hand-harvest the grapes and it takes multiple passes through the vineyard to complete the harvest because they are looking for grapes of a specific ripeness. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels (25% new). The vines are Espalier-trained – this is a special trellising system – you need to see the picture in this link. They trellis the grapes in this fashion to minimize mold and rot.

The importer is Martine Saunier. She’s French-born. She is one of the best importers in the USA. Her family made wine in Burgundy. In 1979, after several years working for other importers, she created the first American wine importer owned and operated by a woman. Her portfolio is IMPRESSIVE! These are REAL wines that TASTE of a PLACE!

Food pairing - Goes grilled poultry, pork, smoked fish, freshwater fish, seafood & ham. Also goes well with spicy Asian fare, such as Thai food. This will pair well with paté. It drinks well on its own and it paired up well with chocolate-covered strawberries. Drinking this, I wanted to try it with a leg of lamb coated in rosemary! I think it'll work great!