Notes From The Jenny & Francois Annual Tasting 2018….Part I

Here are the brief notes I promised from my previous post. The list below are my personal favorites from the whole lot. It is terribly unfair and difficult to judge a natural wine out of context(not with food or good company), so don’t blame me if you disagree. If it were possible, I would take each bottle home, call a few close friends, cook a delicious meal and see what happens to the wine over the course of an evening……. That is not realistic or possible, so I embraced the moment and went with the flow. A many thanks to Jenny and Francois for a wonderful tasting of natural French wines. I am humbled by your passion.

NV Cousin-Leduc Saumur Brut 100%(Biodynamic)– Salty. Mineral. Acidity stings the palate like electricity. Oysters would be nice.
2006 Domaine de La Senechaliere Muscadet Vielles Vignes(Organic)– Less minerality on the nose, more green herbs(mint, fennel) and a lovely natural yeast quality . Ample weight on the palate and a great crescendo on the finish. Long.
2004 Domaine GuillotBroux Macon- Villages(Organic)– Golden hue. Nicely developed nose. It’s warm, rich and inviting; reminds me of autumn. The Deep, creamy texture on the palate screams for a plate of sauteed scallops drizzled with beurre blanc and fresh thyme. Don’t hold too long….. in a very beautiful, mature spot.
2007 Estezargues Cotes du Rhone Blanc ” From The Tank”(3 Liter Box)-We need to embrace quality boxed wine more. When I worked the 2007 harvest in France, we drank delicious Minervois Rouge from the Tank every day!!!–it’s easy to pour, feeds a lot of folks, and is good for the environment. Why not!?!? The CDR Blanc from Estezargues is a quintessential bistro white. Subtle, vinous, thirst quenching and so-so easy to drink. Imbibe ice cold with a salty jambon beurre sandwich. Hey, I want a Tank of Cotes du Rhone Blanc for my fridge.
2005 Domaine Binner Saveurs Printanieres(Organic)Field blend of Riesling,Muscat,Pinot Gris, and Gewurztraminer. A very expressive nose of spices and flowers. Vinous, bright, yeasty, and nicely defined on the palate. Imagine this: It’s winter, you’re in a restaurant sitting at a table near a warm, crackling fire. Across from you is someone special;their beauty is striking,you feel nothing but utter content. The waiter comes over and brings you the menu;listed under entree is a sauteed rosemary bone-in pork chop. Sounds delicious and savory. Though surprisingly,something is missing or incomplete………It’s the 2005 Domaine Binner Saveurs Printanieres.
2006 Domaine Binner Pinot Noir(Organic)Oh the color in the glass. It expresses the beauty of man and nature working together, with love and respect. Such a charming, pale ruby red which would inspire Robert Parker to pour it down the toilet…. I feel bad for him. The nose is generous; replete with delicate, feminine Pinot fruit. Light as a feather on the palate. Terribly fun and easy to drink. I may replace this with water in my home.
2006 Cousin-Leduc Pur Breton(Cabernet Franc & Biodynamic)Great effort here…… Francois Rabelais would love this wine. Concentrated yet buoyant, inky, and masculine. Lots of meaty fruit and schisty minerals to chew on . Decant for a long while. This wine is so undeniably French; a wonderful, true representation of Anjou Breton. I Love it. At the table, this burly, earthy Breton needs a hunk of braised meat to tame its savage nature. I want to love everything Cousin touches. His passion, energy and determination to make hyper natural, traditional wine is inspiring. Actually, it gives me the chills.
******Shoot, the pup is sitting at the door with a face so adorable and sweet that I cannot refuse his request for some quality time outside with Dad(me). Five more wines to discuss in the next post. Tonight? Doubtful. Tomorrow? Likely.
Jaime Brockway Warning: Drinking Less Than One Bottle of Loire Wine Per Week Is Detrimental To Your Health. Approved By Francois Rabelais.

Ahhh……Ernest Speaks The Truth

Pardon, but I digress from usual business to offer Hemingway’s perspective on wine. While reading A Moveable Feast this weekend for the tenth time, I came across the excerpt below. It struck a chord. It should also be noted that Hemingway had an affinity for the high acid, naked white wines of France.

“In Europe then we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine is not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as

Flintastic Pouilly Fume


Summertime in NYC is still on stage–front and center! So, I took this opportunity to celebrate the heat with a cool glass of Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and a button of Crottin de Chavignol. Folks, it doesn’t get much more hedonistic than the ancient pairing of a tangy goat cheese with a nervous, ample Pouilly Fume. Take part in this time honored tradition–your tummy will not be disappointed. The Pouilly Fume of the evening was a delightful bottle of 2007 Regis Minet Pouilly Fume Vielles Vignes. Imported by my wine hero, Kermit Lynch, who has been working with Minet’s wines for years.  Regis Minet makes an old vine blend for Kermit coming from various parcels on the right bank of the Loire River. The nose is tight, muscular and loaded with gun flint.  I mean loaded!!! Volume, minerals and green fruits define the palate. Long and crunchy finish. Oysters are actually lining up around the corner to die for this wine.   The 2007 Regis Minet Pouilly Fume Vielles Vignes is equally as beautiful, moving and natural as a snow hushed morning.

Cheers to Pascal Frissant

Meet Pascal Frissant. He owns Chateau Coupe Roses in Minervois, France. Last year, I worked at his artisan estate picking grapes and helping in the cave. Based on this picture, do you think I had fun!?!? Simple answer. So yesterday, I had the good fortune of enjoying the fruits of my labor by tasting the newly released 2007 Chateau Coupe Roses VDP “Champ du Roy” Cotes Du Brian (Marsanne,Viogner,Grenache Blanc,and other white varieties). The nose and palate are exuberantly wild, spicy,floral, and intense. Not a shy gal here. Take a sip, swoosh it over your tongue, suck back some air, and feel the warm scents of the Mediterranean hit you like a Mac Truck!!! Serve very cool and next to a warm baguette slathered with tapenade.Pas Mal.


Putting My Country First!!

Following McBush’s lead, I am suspending Jaime Brockway, and putting my country first over Loire Valley Wine. Today, I depart for our nation’s capitol for an indefinite period of time.The American people need my leadership and maverick palate to get through this difficult period. Wish me luck.

An Airy Chverney Rouge

I am a perfume guy–when it comes to wine of course. So, I like my wine to have an aromatic intensity. Clear. Focused. And well delineated. Not a surprise then that I gravitate towards cool climate reds and whites; especially from the Loire Valley. This clarity which I speak of, is what connects me to the place,people and origin. Naked wines, if you will. Without that purity and honesty, I am lost and uninterested. Several days ago, I opened a stunning bottle of the 2006 Domaine Des Huards“Le PressoirCheverny Rouge(Gamay and Pinot Noir). Cheverney, a small hamlet within the Touraine region of Loire makes both red and white. But I most adore their fragrant reds. The color in the glass of the 2006 Domaine Des Huards Rouge is a delightful pale ruby red. A natural hue for the varieties. Take one whiff; airy, buoyant aromas of minerals, and earthy fruit punch the senses; made me dream of the languid Loire River flowing through France. Peaceful. Powerful. Intense. Pair this wine with herb roasted chicken; it will bring you warmth and deliver instant happiness to the soul. Oh ya, all this satisfying, compelling drinking will cost you less than $20.00 !! There is no wine growing region which can rival the Loire Valley for its history: quality:value ratio…… my opinion.
Jaime Brockway Warning: Drinking Less Than One Bottle Of Loire Wine Per Week Is Just Plain Stupid And Bad For Your Health. Approved By Baudelaire.

Eating Well……And Cheap!!!

In these very uncertain times, I am obviously becoming more conscious of how I consume; and the days of going out to eat and drink with friends three times per week is frozen. Indefinitely. So this morning, I withdrew $20.00 from the ATM, and wandered over to the Union Square Greenmarket. With the pup by my side, we scouted out all the vendors and then attacked with purpose. My goal was to come away with enough food to last me three meals. Difficult, but possible. So this meant the grass fed beef, pork or chicken had to be scratched. Also, I could forget a luxury fruit like grapes or heirloom tomatoes. But in place,I landed a beautiful half dozen eggs, a head of orange cauliflower, a quart of mini- green squash,garlic, and a baguette for only $13.00 !! With a little money left over, I bought a wedge of blue cheese thinking this could put some density and protein goodness on the squash or cauliflower. A little creativity and portion control will be required to succeed. Wish me luck.

An Autumnal Cru Beaujolais


With fall having arrived in nyc, something revolutionary happenened to the palate–organically and almost over night. For me, as soon as the cool air and aromas of autumn commence, my taste buds yearn for savory, earth driven reds. White wines are still a common fixture at the table, but the reds certainly dominate the show. So last week, after a day of gathering root veggies and pork from my local farmers market, I prepared a quintessential fall meal: grilled rosemary bone in pork chops and herb roasted fingerling potatoes. Simple. Honest. And replete with earthy goodness.

As the potatoes were doing their business and sending out mouth watering aromas of thyme and winter savory, I sifted through my cellar(2×2 closet) and pulled out a cool bottle of the 2007 Domaine des Terres Dorees Cru Fleurie(Louis/Dressner Selections$21.00) Winemaker Jean Paul Brun works mysterious magic in the Beaujolais and for me ,his wines always have a resounding pureness and confident impact on the senses. Polite yet forceful. Jean Paul Brun’s wine making techniques place him squarely in the hyper natural camp; and his Bojo’s probably taste as they used to, pre-WWII . After spending a few minutes in the fridge, I pulled the cork and enjoyed all the beauty Jean Paul can coax from the gentle Gamay variety. The aromatics were as delicate as a feather; expressing the purity and femininity of Cru Fleurie with perfection…… savory, strong and polite on the palate. The subtlety of all the components kept me intrigued and mesmerized for several hours of brilliant drinking. The last sip was stronger than the first. The wine and food together were flawless and united as one beautiful piece of art. Fluid and natural. This meal was surely a great giver of happiness and content.
Jaime Brockway Warning: Drinking Less Than One Bottle Of Loire Wine Per Week Will Make You Sick And Fragile.

Muscadet Monday


Last Saturday a good mate of mine from university popped in town for a brief stay; and shortly after his arrival, a bunch of  east coast oysters were slurped  chez moi alongside a chilled glass of the 2006 Domaine de l’Ecu Muscadet Sevre et Main Cuvee Classique(Kysela Pere et Fils $12-$15) .  Winemaker Guy Bossard adopted organic farming in the early 1970’s and certified biodynamic in the 1980’s, way before it was marketable or cool –he is undeniably un homme de la terre. Guy produces several single soil wines like Expression de Gneiss or Orthogneiss which are dense and age worthy. From what I gather, the Classique comes from younger vines, various soil types, and numerous parcels. Nevertheless, this wine is  truly an admirable expression of soil and place for under $15!!!  In my opinion, the only other wine growing region in the world which can compete with the Loire Valley in the price : soil expression ratio is Germany. So how was the wine, you ask?? It smelled like rocks and tasted of  springtime.  Also, it’s a bit fussy upon opening, so I would recommend a strong decant before serving.