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Wednesday, January 26, 2005

A Trio of wacky names

Since I am the one hosting this edition of Wine Blogging Wednesday, which has –ahem- the ingenious theme of wacky wine names, I’ve been searching far and wide for wine with the oddest name. My search concluded with two pretty wackily named California wines, but as the tasting proved to be rather underwhelming, I decided to open another bottle –also with a pretty wacky name, though in another language- which I knew to be a lovely wine.

Wackytrio_1So here's the trio:
HRM Rex Goliath, Central Coast Chardonnay, 2003
Slow Lane Cab 2001, Vinum Cellars, Napa Valley
Pascal Cotat 2003 Les Monts Damnés, Sancerre

Hrmrexgoliathlogo230So, shall we begin? The first bottle I opened was a HRM Rex Goliath, 2003, a Central Coast Chardonnay. The name was taken from a show Rooster, who, at a whopping 47 lb, was a huge attraction at a Texas circus. The wine billed itself to be “free range”, though frankly I am not entirely sure what that means.

I am famously allergic to huge, oaky, buttery California chardonnays, but this name was so wacky that I decided to give it a try anyway. The result was not so bad. The wine was pale straw color, with a very light body, and somewhat oaky, yet not offensively so. The nose was of pineapple and green apple. It was lacking in acidity though, so the wine appeared very flat on the palate and without a lot of flavors. At $9 this wasn’t bad, but I wouldn't buy it again.

SlowlanecabThe second bottle I opened was the 2001 Slow Lane Cab from Vinum Cellars in Napa Valley. The back of the bottle reads:

Yes, we are the guys driving in the slow lane with a heavy load of grapes and the hazard lights on. We like doing things the hard way, hand crafting small lots of wine from small vineyards while keeping it affordable. So please be patient and slow down… we like the old truck, and we think you will too!

Promising, no? And at $12 for a half bottle, it’s not exactly cheap. The wine turned out to be pretty typical California cabernet, that is to say, dark red, with a fruity, over-ripe berry nose –so overripe it in fact reminded me of stewed tomato. The ripe berry also gave me a somewhat sweet mouthfeel which I get with extremely fruity wines. It wasn’t bad really, just unremarkable.

Cotatlesmontsdamnes_2Fast forward two days, I was thinking about writing up my entry for the Wacky Wine Wednesday, and found myself not entirely satisfied with the choices I had so far. I decided to do yet another one, this time an old favorite, a Sancerre from a hamlet of Chavignol, and particularly from the best vineyard sites in the whole of Sancerre called Les Monts Damnés, the damned mountains. 2003 Pascal Cotat Sancerre "Les Mont Damnés", Pretty wacky, no?

The site, Les Monts Damnés, or the damned mountains, is so called because of the dangerously steep slopes on which the vines are grown. The steepest parts of which require grape pickers to slide down the mountain on their behind, with a cushion of course. I am not kidding you.

This Sauvignon Blanc wine is from the Cotat family, one of the best producers in Sancerre. They are an old fashioned producer who refuses to change with time. The grapes are harvested later than at other vineyards in Sancerre, pressed by hand using an antique crusher from the 19th century, and bottled completely unrefined and unfiltered.

The nose is of acacia, citrus, and apple. It is medium in body –as it is young yet- and light gold in color. The wine is balanced with good acidity that will help pair it well with food. If you are still unconvinced by the virtue of food and wine pairing, try this wine with Crottin de Chavignol, a goat cheese from the same region as the wine--you will taste the very definition of terroir and will immediately understand what the French wine makers have been yakking on and on about. I also like this wine with a salad of mâche, goat cheese, and almond in a light white wine vinaigrette.

This wine is retailed at $40, so it is probably not a fair comparison with the two lower priced CA wines that I reviewed for this, oh well.

And you? Have you got a wacky one? Let me know. I'll wait till 12pm PST before I do a wrap, so you've still got time my friends. ;-)

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