Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A Duo of Highly Recommended White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc and Verdicchio

A Duo of Recommended White Wines: Sauvignon Blanc and Verdicchio.

Jacques Frelin “Les Carrons” Sauvignon Blanc Touraine (AOP) 2018, 13.5%, €16.60 Mary Pawle

For over thirty years now, Jacques Frelin has been at the forefront of the organic wine movement in France. While organic is often associated with small, this is not the case with Frelin who has vineyards all over the country from the Languedoc (where he is headquartered) to the Loire.

The Touraine appellation covers the centre of the Loire Valley. With Tours, its main city in the middle, it stretches from Blois in the east to close to Saumur in the west, with independent appellations (such as Chinon, Bourgueil and Vouvray) situated within its boundary. While some Chenin Blanc is planted here, Sauvignon Blanc is the most widely planted white and this Les Carrons (hand harvested grapes and matured on its lees) is rather special.

Light straw is the colour. Citrus notes in the aromas of moderate intensity, more exotic fruit too plus floral notes. Vibrant and fruity on the palate, impressive mouthfeel also, no shortage of acidity either. All in all, quite a harmonious organic wine, another excellent drop from M. Frelin. Very Highly Recommended.

Food pairings suggested include serving it as an aperitif or with a warm goats cheese salad or guinea fowl with truffles. Serve 10-12 degrees.

Belisario 'Vigneti del Cerro' Verdicchio di Matelica (DOC) 2016, 12.5%, €24.99
Fallon & Byrne; Cinnamon Cottage; Wineoline.ie

Verdicchio may not immediately spring to mind when thinking of white wine grapes but it has a long history in Italy. According to legend, the invading Visigoths, on their way to sack Rome at the start of the 5th century, drank barrels of it to enhance their courage. There are two areas in the Marches (central eastern Italy) that are well known for their Verdicchio wines, the Jesi and the smaller more inland Matelica. The wines of Jesi are the better known, more popular. But I’ve a grá for the Matelica version and it continues with this one! It would be nice to have an in-depth simultaneous tasting of both.

But back to the bottle at hand. This 100% Verdicchio is honey coloured, with orange and green tints. Beautiful aromatics, citrus notes prominent. Apple and zingy lemon on the palate, refreshing and lively acidity too along with a mineral character, harmonious all the way to the finalé. Soft mouthfeel too. Great balance of power and elegance and Very Highly Recommended.

The label confused me  a little:  "At 12 degrees celsius it is better, with all that is not red.” I think you can take it that the suggestion is that the Cerro goes well with white meat and fish dishes! Liberty Wines suggest hot appetizers, first courses or fish and the winery itself indicates it pairs well with Mussels and shallots.

This wonderfully fresh wine is produced by the Cantine Belisario, a co-operative founded in 1971 and the biggest producer of Verdicchio in Matelica. The climate here is more continental than in Castelli di Jesi and the combination of warm days and cool nights gives a longer growing season, and lovely aromatic qualities to the wines.

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