I’ve been told again and again that a good French bottle under $20 is pretty hard to find. Or impossible, it really depends on the miscreant you’re talking to. I say miscreant because, well, if they saw the later, they are. Really. I want to shoo them off with my show. If only I was so inclined. Some of the best bottles we’ve had have been from the under $20 range from North, South, East, and yes, West France too!
A good deal of French wine is pretty fantastic. Really, combat your fears for once and pick up a bottle of some esoteric (and yes, frightening) bottle from, say, the Crozes-Hermitage.
That’s where this weeks bottle hails from.
We found it in the “Last Bottles” bin. So I advise seeking this bottle out hasta pronto before they go the way of the dragon: something mythical, mystical, and damned fascinating that no one really believes actually existed anymore…
…a beautifully balanced wine for under $20.
2011 Domaine des Lises Crozes-Hermitage Equinoxe – $19 Worthy.
A delicate nose; refreshing, earthy with some clay notes and a faint raw hide sort of tinge. In the mouth, the Equinoxe is very delicate and balanced. Great sugar, tight concentration, a tangible feel to the backend. There’s little evolution, but you can’t help but be damned happy you’re drinking it. Very easy to get along with. A perfect introduction to French Crozes-Hermitage. Excellent. Worthy.
Sangiovese is familiar. Sangiovese is safe. It’s got the proclivity to go anywhere, do anything. Right, right…and it’s not longer “piss-puddle” as it so used to be known.
We were up in Santa Ynez, California just a week ago. Surprised by all the sangiovese we had seen up there, it’s time to write in about this little market gem we have stumbled upon: The “Maritmma.” For a low priced, foreign bottle, frankly we expected the worst, but turned out to be bowled over, laughing quite merrily.
This brings up a quick point: find the best wine merchant in town and stick with it. Drive forty miles if you have to. You’ll know when a wine merchant is taking themselves seriously. You don’t need a damned degree in anything. The wine will tell you themselves; they will be consistently worthy of your admiration, your nights of depravity.
I know I’ve found a good merchant when I wake up once a week, curled up into a little ball in the corner, neck stiff and hell bent on making a detox tea. So, Salú to them.
2011 “Maritima” Maremma Toscana Sangioves – $8 Worthy.
Let’s skip the formalities of tasting notes. This wine doesn’t have a great deal of them. You are going to find the typical sangiovese tang, bright notes of elation and a smooth finish. The sugar is low, it’s damn good to drink with anything you cook, yet just interesting enough to knock a glass or two back with while watching The Walking Dead, or, if you are so inclined (mature), re-treading old seasons of The West Wing, guffawing over politically savvy dialogue penned by Aaron Sorkin.
A good friend recommended drinking with Saved By The Bell. Do not listen to this woman.
We made it to Santa Ynez for the first time. What a reprieve from the city.
I don’t want to get romantic about it.
But I’ll say this: the area, especially walking the vineyards under heavy fog captivated me beyond belief.
Everyone cares deeply about their wines, fueling my own passion immensely.
Soon, we’ll start dealing out some photographs and recommendations soon.
But for now, a taste of depravity: