Français : Feuilles de Vignes - Grenache Blanc (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I'm not so much a white wine buyer these days, but the wine I'm very excited about and thankful that I bought two cases of is the 2011 Michel Gassier Nostre Pais Blanc, a delightful blend made from three Rhone grapes. The wine is 90 percent Grenache Blanc, while the remaining ten percent is equal parts of Roussanne and Viognier. This is a far different wine than the 2010 Lou Cacardie which is equally impressive and desirable as a first wine of the night. Here in California the wine can be found for under $17.00 at leading online retailers like the Wine House in Los Angeles and JJ Buckley out of the Bay Area.
Gassier, whose wines come from either the North end of the Languedoc or the Southern end of the Rhone are fantastic. His alignment with consulting winemaker/oeneologist Philip Cambie also can't be discounted, as Cambie is becoming the Rhone grape equal to Italy's Ricardo Cotarella
The comparisons being made to the Beaucastel Viellies Vignes are notable, but the Nostre Pais blanc is a different wine, other than the nose. The Beaucastel wine will likely live longer, and develop a more waxy quality, while the Gassier white will be far more aromatic and drier. Grenache Blanc is an amazing grape, and here in the USA both Tablas Creek and Margerum Wine Company also make some amazing wines from it. Availability and production while small in the USA is booming in France, and while Gassier makes wines at the top end of the Languedoc, I found that wines in the Roussillion made from Grenache Blanc, like the 2010 Clos des Fees Grenache Blanc to be one of the most ethereal examples of the grape, especially when blended with some rarer Grenache Gris. These are all white wines to seek out and enjoy as I am finding that Grenache Blanc based wines are some of the most food friendly whites around, being right up there with dry Riesling as the supurb alternative to Chardonnay.