My friendship with the staff and owners at Akasha and at AR Cucina has blossomed over the year since Thanksgiving night 2015. It truly is now "Moose of L.A." for me.
I guess being nice, sharing and caring pays off. What this has allowed me to do is something that only those with a "Deep Cellar" can do. That's try wines in a educational or thematic manner with the crew there and simply enjoy great, very healthy, well prepared food with friends all the time.
A few nights ago it was the wines of Charles Jouget. Two 2006 Chinons, Clos du Chene Vert and Clos de la Dioterie. Same Cabernet Franc grape, but totally different vineyards and flavor profiles. Both were yummy reds, with a very changing taste profile as the wines opened. I didn't have a clear favorite of the two, but I won't be tossing either wine to the curb.
A night later I started off dinner with my friend Amanda enjoying the 2015 Magellan Le Fruit Defendu Rose, IGP Cotes de Thongue made by friend Bruno Lafon as the all Cinsault Rose was just the right way to start the festive holiday season. This was followed by three very different, yet stunning reds. The 2009 Craggy Range Winery Te Muna Road Vineyard Pinot Noir stole the show early on. Big, ripe, powerful Pinot, and not one that was easily guessed to be Pinot.
Then came pal Sylvain Fadat's 2012 Les Servieres. Another wine made from all Cinsault, which happens to be found in my 2015 Comunicano Wine Company S5 --well three percent of the wine is. Cinsault is this magical grape that is more often blended into wines, both red and rose, but which adds a very unique flavor the wine, not quite cranberry, but not raspberry either, it just makes wines stand out. The Les Servieres does just that.
My favorite though was the 2009 Aphros Silenus a wine made in Portugal's Vinho Verde region of 100 percent Vinhão. This almost black-purple colored wine perhaps is one of Portugal's greatest red wines as it is made as smooth as any great Burgundy or Italian Barolo. Jam packed with berries and cherries, the red wine is a graceful wine that I can never get enough of.
Last night the wines of Michel Gassier were the theme. Two reds and two whites. The whites were from the 2010 vintage, while the reds were one 2009 and the the other 2010.
Talk about great value wines that have aged so, so well. All four of the wines were low to mid teens in price around release. The Gassier wines have become in my mind what the Guigal wines of the 80s were like. Fantastic values that well outperform other wines in the price range and regional nature.
The 2010 Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs White blends 90 percent Grenache Blanc with 5 percent each of Roussanne and Viognier. It was as fresh as anything bottled in 2015. Hands down it was a runaway crowd pleaser as the bright spring flower bouquet nose, followed by loads of pears and peaches just lingered.
The 2010 Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié White is mostly Roussanne with some Viognier and Grenache Blanc shows the barrel fermentation as everyone got oak on the palate from the Roussanne. In some ways it was reminiscent of the Beaucaustel old vines Roussanne. But in others the wine was clearly more Languedoc Roussanne than Rhone. A good test of this wine I'd like to do is to pour it blind along with a Beaucaustel, a 1998 Chave Hermitage Blanc and the 2004 Roussanne from Qupe that pal Bob Lindquist (father of Ethan Lindquist) has in his cellar.
Then came the reds. The 2009 Costières de Nîmes Lou Coucardié Red is 60 percent Mourvedre with the balance being Grenache and Syrah in that order. It's big. It's bold. It spicy. It reminds me more of Pic St. Loup than Chateuneuf du Pape or Bandol as it has that ripe and deep blackberry fruit flavor, with strawberries and blueberries. It has none of the barnyard or farmyard aromas that Rhone and Bandol tends to toss of.
The 2010 Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs is a charmer. This really brought me back to when I was buying and drinking 1983 and 1985 Guigal Cotes du Rhones with Jim Curl and Raymond E. Feist at Pirets in the 90s and as we progressed to Sunday football days and Saturday house parties. For under $15.00 this wine screams great value. The 2010 Costières de Nîmes Nostre Païs is a stunning example of great winemaking, serious selection of fruit and just a great bottle that you can pour for anyone, be they a wine expert or just a casual drinker.
Tonight for Xmas Eve -- the wines of Sparkman Cellars...come join.