Our friend Karen is visiting with a heavy bagful of French and Italian lovies! Where else can you try a Jura Savagnin and a Amarone side by side? The Cheese Shop, of course!
2010 Florent Rouve, Arboise Savagnin – Jura, France, $36
In 1998, Mâconnais producer Jean Rijckaert started a domaine between Burgundy and the Swiss border in Arbois, an appellation within the Jura. Rijckaert has since passed the reins to his student, Florent Rouve. Savagnin is the major white grape of the Jura, which shows notes of ripe pears, quince and tangerine oil. These grapes are harvested from 60-year old vines, in 6-year-old barrels with natural fermentation, and Florent leaves the wine on its lees for 2 years. Talk about a mouthful! Also, only 250 cases were made of this 2010 vintage!
2010 Florent Rouve, Arboise Chardonnay – Jura, France ($16)
Florent also harvests the Jura’s other main white grape, Chardonnay. All hand-harvested from 30-year-old vines, and aged for 18 months on its lees to give it structure. This Chardonnay is pure, fresh, and slightly barnyard funky, just how we like our Jura juice.
2016 Château Henri Bonnaud, Henri Bonnaud “Steff” Rosé – Provence, France, $15
Château Henri Bonnaud is one of three producers located in the tiny AOC of Palette, the 3rd smallest AOC in France. In the early 2000s, Stéphane Sptizlous took over the operations from his grandfather, Henri Bonnaud, and farms organically with premiere southern exposure atop chalky and gravelly soils. While sipping this easy rosé, which is a blend of Syrah and Vermentino, think of rose petals and peach trees.
2013 Château Trillol, Corbières – Languedoc-Roussillon, France, $17
Château Trillol sits high in the hills of southwestern France. The local grape varieties of Grenache, Syrah, and Carignan are harvested by hand and blended to produce an authentic wine packed with intense color of regal purple, and a nose of redcurrant with some oak. The palate is silky with great finesse and balanced tannins.
2011 Monte Santoccio, Amarone della Valpolicella – Veneto, Italy, $50
What is Amarone, exactly? Amarone is a type of wine from the northwest region of Veneto and made from a blend of these grapes: Corvina, Rondinella, Molinara, and Corvinone. Grapes are picked, laid out on straw mats, and then aged for as long as 120 days until they turn into raisins. The grapes in an Amarone della Valpolicella DOCG must lose a minimum of 40% water content before they are pressed and then begin the fermentation process. During fermentation, the grapes' natural sugars are fermented out to dryness. Post fermentation, the juice is transferred into oak or chestnut barrels to begin aging for a minimum of 2 years. The result is an elegance of blackberries, plums, black cherries and a long, perception of sweetness. Pair with the raw, cow’s milk cheese Gorgonzola Tosi, which we scoop directly from the wheel because it is so soft and luscious…just like Amarone!
2014 Monte Santoccio, Valpolicella Classico Superiore – Veneto, Italy, $23
Valpolicella Classico Superiore differs from Amarone but uses the same grape varietals in its belnding. The grape varietals in a Classico are harvested prior to Amarone grapes, which impart a fresher taste in the wine. Also, Classico Superiore needs only a minimum of 1 year of aging. This Classico is light and bright with juicy red fruit, tart cherry notes, raspberry, and bitter blueberry. Two-thirds of the juice ages in steel and one-third in barrique, thus showing restraint as well as structure in its modern interpretation.